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H I S T O R.Y 

Cornell University 

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tine Cornell University Library. 

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the United States on the use of the text. 

U 430.V8W82"""'""'"'""-""™^ 

I wiiiMiiliSi!''*''''^ °' "'^ Virginia lUil 

3 1924 008 371 357 





Virginia Military Institute 


1839 TO 1865 



Formerly Commandant of Cadets, Virginia Military Institute, 
Colonel Engineers, Virginia Volunteers. 

"There are some defeats more trinmphant than victories." — Bacon. 
"There are those that triumph in a losing cause." — Lowell. 




J. P. BELL CO., Inc. 









"To God, whichever way the battle rolls, 
We, fighting to the end, commend our souls." 



I. The Genesis op the Virginia Military Institute 24 

II. Founding of the Second American School of 

Arms 86 

III. "The West Point of the South" and Major Gil- 
ham 4(6 

IV. The Coming of Jackson 63 

V. In Time of Peace Prepare for War — Gilham and 

Jackson 76 

VI. Chair of Strategy Created — The Execution of 

John Brown 99 

VII. Military Preparation 114 

VIII. "Draw the Sword and Throw Away the Scab- 


IX. Union Sentiment — Mobilization — The Corps of 
Cadets Enters the Service of the Confeder- 
acy — Camp Lee — "First Blood of the War". . 134 

X. Jackson at Harper's Ferry and Manassas 158 

XI. Cadets at Manassas — In Memoriam 165 

XII. The West Point of the Confederacy 171 

XIII. Winter of 1862 — Battle of McDowell 184 

XIV. Back to Work Again — Chancellorsvillb — "The 

Virginia Military Institute Will Be Heard 
From To-Day" — The Burial of Jackson 211 

6 Contents 


XV. The Summer of 1863 — Averell's First Raid — ^A 

New Session and New Arms 233 

XVI. Gettysburg and the V. M. I. in Pickett's Charge 

— Latimer, "The Boy Major" 244 

XVII. The Fall and Winter of 1863 — Averell's Second 

Raid — A Near Battle 252 

XVIII. Averell's Third Raid — Cadets Called Out Again 

— A Week of Severe Field Service 264 

XIX. From the Sublime to the Ridiculous 276 

XX. Breckinridge Orders Out the Corps — The March 

Down the Valley 284 

XXI. The Battle of New Market, May 16, 1864 803 

XXII. The Charge of the Cadets 316 

XXIII. Victory and Laurels — Richmond Again and Back 

to Lexington 333 

XXIV. Hunter's Raid — Destruction of the Institute — 

In the Trenches at Lynchburg — Furloughed 362 

XXV. Institute Reopened in Richmond — On the Lines 
— The New Almshouse — In the Trenches 
Again 381 

XXVI. 1865 — In the Trenches Again — "Sauve Qui 

Peut" 406 

Appendix 421 



Battle of New Market Frontispiece 

The Arsenal in 1839 32 

Colonel Claude Crozet 64 

Colonel John Thomas Lewis Preston 96 

Major-General Francis Henney Smith 128 

Brigadier-General Thomas Hoomes Williamson 160 

Major-General William H. Richardson 192 

Colonel William Gilham 224 

War Map 240 

Major Thomas Jonathan Jackson 256 

Virginia Military Institute 1853-1865 288 

Major-General Raleigh E. Colston 320 

Brigadier-General Scott Shipp 352 

Major-General Robert Edward Rodes 384 

A War-Time Cadet Officer 400 

Barracks After Hunter's Raid 416 


T of 

EEEATA rork 

1. p. 22, line 31, defeat should be defect. ^°^ 

2. p. 22, line 35, more should be mere. „. , 

3. p. 25, line 21, recommendations should be recommendation I^ 

4. p. 67, line 27, 1838 should be 1848. . ^^^ 

5. p. 93, line 24, effect should be effort. ^^? 

6. p. 101, line 14, M. E. Colston should be E. E. Colston. 

7. p. 135, line 6, something should be nothing °^^' 

8. p. 152, line 29, May should be June. P?^ 

9. p. 176, in footnote, Averill should be Averell • 

10. p. 184, last line, C. should be G. '^^JV 

11. p. 189, line 32, Ealeigh T. should be Ealeigh E 

12. p. 191, line 25, have should be had. ^^^" 

13. p. 195, line 12, omit comma after Edward. . i^ 

14. p. 204, line 5, he should be we. ^ 

15. p. 205, last line, he should be we. \^° 

16. p. 206, line 26, onto should be into. Jj 

17. p. 306, line 31, insert Captain after Cadet. 

18. p. 324, line 27, have should be has. 

19. p. 334, line 1, stag should be staff. 

20. p. 369, line 22, Pierpoint should be Pierpont. ^gn 

21. p. 384, and list of illustrations, Eobert Edward Eodes sliould 

be Eobert Emmet Eodes. 

455, line 9, Herdy should be Hardy. 

to a 

, re- 
! the 
reader of the extent or tneir mnuence upon wnatever 
of accuracy the narrative may possess. Captain B. A. 
Colonna, Cadet Captain of Company "D" in the Bat- 
tle of New Market, and who served as a cadet in the 
Corps, from July, 1860, until the destruction of the In- 
stitute, possesses a fund of information unexcelled by 
that of any hving member of the War Corps. This he 
placed at the disposal of the author. Colonel Joseph R. 

10 The Military History or 

Anderson, Official Historiographer of the Institute, 
personally checked every date and figure and made 
many corrections and suggestions without which the 
work would have been most defective. The author 
is unable to adequately express his feeling of in- 
debtedness to them both. In addition to his work of 
revising the manuscript, Colonel Anderson contributed 
much to the work in the form of statistical appendices 
and other matter. 

In the preparation of this work the author's thoughts 
continually dwelt upon Schamyl, Scandeberg, Ver- 
cingetorix, Kosciusczko, — and Lee, — the great heroes 
of defeat, rather than upon the lustful Hannibals of 

"Courage and conscience devoted to a great cause are 
the elements of heroism. Judged by conventional 
standards, it may be falhble, but it is always entitled 
to respect. The fame of the victor is secure, but at 
times the halo around the brow of the champion who 
bites the dust ere he reaches his goal shines with 
transcendent luster. To portray the heroic deeds and 
stature of such is, of course, the purpose of the author 
of this volume." These words are borrowed from an 
eminent scholar, and upon the cover of this book is 
stamped the picture of Mercie's statue Gloria Victis, — 
Victory gathering to her arms an heroic youth — ^which 
statue stands before the Hotel de Ville of Paris. 

A distinguished officer of the United States Army, 
one who was formerly Commandant of Cadets of the 
United States Military Academy, recently addressed 
the Corps of Cadets at the Institute. He stated that 
the reason military schools generally failed to attain 
to the high standards of West Point is because they 
pattern after the superficial things of the Academy, 
losing sight of the moral factors and the traditions as 
the elements upon which its greatness is based. He 
was right. We can not borrow the souls of others, along 
with their mode of Uving and style of dress. But if 
past service, past glory, and noble traditions be ele- 

The Virginia Military Institute 11 

ments of lasting strength, then the future of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute seems assured and no borrow- 
ing is necessary. 

Yes. There is something deeper than external evi- 
dences. It is the soul that must be garbed and drilled, 
and disciplined, and taught to follow the colors ; to obey 
and to expunge from itself the false and the impure 
things of hfe. 

Riichel said the soul of the Prussian army was its 
officers. That the spirit of the corps of officers bespeaks 
the spirit of the whole army is claimed by Von der Goltz 
to be but a repetition of what is imiversally observed in 
political life: "So long," says he, "as the educated, the 
leading classes maintain their efficiency, the people also 
will be stout and capable." It was this idea upon which 
ISIajor Howze dwelt when he pointed out that the pri- 
mary reason of the greatness of West Point was that 
the soul and, therefore, the spirit of the cadet officer 
there was high and pure. 

West Point is older by nearly two score years than 
the Institute, but even the great American School of 
Arms is no richer in tradition than the V. M. I., whose 
soul is chastened Uke that of West Point by the know- 
ledge of all those who have ventured forth upon the field 
of duty from its sally-ports. Here, the most thoughtless 
cadet, as he paces back and forth upon his post in the 
still hours of the night, peoples our sacred precincts 
with spectres from the corps of yesterday, and silently, 
reverently, renders each a salute while passing. 

Youth is inherently careless and not prone to senti- 
mentalism. Yet, down deep in his heart every cadet 
knows, however much he may seek to cover it up, that 
silent voices appeal to him here, and that out on the 
parade groimd, trodden in the long ago by heroes un- 
numbered, he is called upon to pass two inspections — 
one the inspection of his conscience. And so, let the 
cadets of to-day rejoice that they find here that which 
makes it unnecessary to borrow aught except the forms 
of the soldier, for as long as our exalted traditions pro- 

12 The Military History of 

vide us with inspectors for the soul of the corps, the sub- 
stance as well as the form of the soldier is assured. May 
the day never come when the cadet is so callous, so dull, 
that he can not in his mind transport the Jackson stand- 
ing before our arch to the field of Manassas, and see 
him there among the very guns which now surround his 
bronze figure. May the day never come when the figure 
of Washington before our sally-port fails to speak to 
the sentinel on his lonely beat, or when the figure of 
Virginia mourning the loss of those whose remains she 
guards fails to inspire us with prideful joy at the sacri- 
fice of those Mves. May the hour never come when for 
the whole corps, as well as for its officers, the perform- 
ance of duty has but the one selfish object of passing 
gain, without that higher appeal to conscience in its dis- 

The action of the Corps of Cadets in the battle of 
New Market, while, undoubtedly, its most brilliant 
military exploit, was by no means the only active field 
service in which the cadets engaged during the War 
between the States ; but it has overshadowed their other 
deeds to such an extent that most of them had been al- 
most forgotten, even by the participants. It was to 
save these to history, and to record the great influence 
which Virginia's School of Arms bore upon the military 
career of the Confederate States of America, that this 
work was undertaken. 

So much has been written of New Market that it 
might at first seem superfluous to attempt to add more 
to the general knowledge of the event. For two rea- 
sons, however, it was necessary to do so; first, because 
such a work as this would be incomplete without a full 
account of the battle, especially of the part played 
therein by the cadets ; and second, because a work piu-- 
porting to be a final one on that chapter of the history of 
the Virginia Military Institute is so far from con- 
clusive, and so characterized by lack of military per- 
ception on the part of its author, that it can not be al- 
lowed to stand without a protest. That protest, how- 

The Virginia Military Institute 13 

ever, shall be one of reason and logic; animus shall not 
enter into our criticisms. 

The battle of New Market should be the cause of 
Uttle contention, for in the brilhant victory which Breck- 
inridge won May 15, 1864, there was glory enough for 
all participants. Yet, as is always the case when actors 
on different parts of a battlefield undertake to set forth 
the conduct of the whole action, and the parts played 
by the various commands, assertions are made incon- 
sistent with the facts, which invariably lead to denials, 
charges, and coimtercharges. 

The student of war expects such results, for he well 
knows — and especially if he be a soldier himself — ^that 
armies are no longer marshaled in sohd phalanx by a 
single leader who maneuvers the mass as if it were on 
parade. The battlefield is seldom of such character 
that even the commanding general may see, or even 
know, at every instant where his various units are 
posted, and those imits while themselves pieces in the 
game are generally quite ignorant of their relative 
situations with respect to the enemy and the various 
parts of the army of which they form an integral part. 
Every such unit has its own particular sphere of action. 
A hill, a thicket, may be the curtain which obscures its 
location or its movements, and, so, when a participant 
undertakes to record more than his own actions, he 
generally does so under a great disadvantage. 

Two brigades or regiments, screened from the view, 
and perhaps entirely ignorant of the relative positions 
of the other, assail a certain portion of the enemy's line. 
The enemy feels at once the pressure of both and re- 
tires. Each of the attacking units, unconscious of their 
joint effect, attributes the flight of the enemy to its 
own prowess. Here, at once, arises a contention made 
in perfect good faith. Neither contestant is wilUng to 
surrender beUefs honestly entertained, and based on 
what was actually seen, yet from different viewpoints. 
And so controversy arises and continues where all are 
right and all are wrong. The historian who expects to 

14 The Military History of 

find a general concurrence of views among the partici- 
pants in a battle expressed in their oflficial reports, will be 
invariably disappointed, and if he be a military critic 
of experience he will not expect it, for detachments of 
a command, though cooperating as a whole, perform 
detached fxmctions, and therefore, as we have seen, ac- 
quire a detached knowledge of what actually occurred 
on the field of battle. 

New Market has proved no exception to the rule, 
and the writer is xmable to understand why the honest 
statements of honest men have not been accepted as 
true with respect to local acts, and why their assertions 
as to the general conduct of the battle have not been 
taken for what they were worth. It is easy to dis- 
tinguish statements based on first-hand knowledge from 
those founded on hearsay and report. 

In order to silence the controversy which arose over 
New Market by reconciling the various accounts of the 
battle, the task of writing an authentic history of the 
battle was by common consent, some years ago, assigned 
to Captain Henry A. Wise, senior tactical officer of the 
Corps of Cadets, who commanded the Battalion, after 
the Commandant was disabled. Captain Wise's in- 
dustry led to the collection of a great mass of material ; 
but his modesty induced him to surrender the work of 
putting it into shape to Professor Edward Raymond 
Turner, of Johns Hopkins University, since become 
Professor of European History at the University of 

While Professor Turner is a scholar of merit, he is, 
unfortunately, not a soldier by training; and he ap- 
proached the undertaking turned over to him in a con- 
fused state of mind, believing that the very natural lack 
of accord between his witnesses argued against the value 
of their testimony. Furthermore, impressed at the out- 
set with the behef that the feat of arms claimed for the 
Corps of Cadets was impossible, he expended much of 
his energy in endeavoring to prove it so; and, while 
he rendered a great service in presenting the collected 

The Virginia Military Institute 15 

evidence of the participants, his conclusions are ob- 
viously a compromise, and so mixed and at variance 
with his facts and own assertions, that they are not to 
be seriously accepted. 

With a full recognition of the unprejudiced temper 
of Dr. Turner, his remarkable lack of bias, his ever- 
apparent desire to do justice to those concerned, and 
his pleasant, dignified style and scholarly attainments, 
it is difficult to sustain his findings in the premises with 
respect to the value of the service rendered by the Corps 
of Cadets. 

A quotation from the preface of the book will indi- 
cate the nature of the case: 

"The battle of New Market, though one of the smaller engage- 
ments of the Civil War, possessed certain striking features which 
made it such an attractive subject that it has been described by 
numerous writers. Moreover, the part taken by the cadets was so 
brilliant and unique that tales of their exploits, from the very day 
of the battle, were given wide circulation. To those in a position 
to know, however, it was evident that no satisfactory account had 
been written; for, notwithstanding that General Sigel, General 
Imboden and others had given versions, their work was obviously 
semi-popular and incomplete; while everything relating to the 
cadets was more or less a matter of rumor and controversy, 
exaggerated assertions being made by their partisans and sweeping 
denials by those who opposed them." 

In order to show that more logical conclusions than 
those of Professor Turner — conclusions entirely con- 
sistent with the facts, as well as with the accounts of the 
battle previously written — ^may be drawn, before enter- 
ing upon the accoimt of the battle, the writer will en- 
deavor to dispel the confusion which Professor Turner 
has only increased. Some of the more important re- 
sults of his study, he says, may be summed up as 
follows : 

"There was no such disparity of numbers of the opposing forces 
as has been often stated; Sigel had about 6,000 men in the battle; 
Breckinridge about 4,600. 

"The Federal Army was defeated because of the slow, faltering, 
and clumsy strategy of its commander, and through a lack of hearty 
cooperation on the part of the different commands. 

16 The Militaky Histoey of 

"The Confederate triumph was owing to superb and brilliant 
movements of Imboden and Breckinridge who showed themselves 
no unworthy successors of Stonewall Jackson, and to the resolute 
bravery of the veteran Confederate troops. 

"The decisive factors on May 16th were the storming of the 
Federal position on the right, the excellent handling of the Con- 
federate artillery, the defeat of the Federal cavalry, and the 
desperate charges made by the Confederate center." 

The author then goes on to say : 

"Any assertion that the cadets won the battle of New Market, 
or stemmed a Confederate rout, are popular exaggerations which 
have tended to discredit what they actually did. 

"There is no doubt that they held the gap in the Confederate 
line, fought wondrously well, and by their example stimulated the 
adjoining regiments to make the decisive charge." (The italics are 
the author's.) 

One who has not critically studied the evidence upon 
which these conclusions are based — and, fortunately 
for all, that evidence is frankly and fully given by the 
author — would be justified in awarding to the cadets the 
honor of having played a very minor role in the battle 
of New Market. First, Dr. Turner declares the "res- 
olute bravery of the veteran Confederate troops" 
(which necessarily excludes the cadets who were not 
veterans) to have been one of the decisive factors in 
the Confederate success. Later, he gives the "desperate 
charges made by the Confederate center," as a decisive 
factor. The cadets were in these charges, according to 
his own statements. Does he mean by the use of the 
word "veteran" to exclude the cadets? No; he should 
have omitted that word. His final conclusions are 
mixed and misleading; and the proof that this is so 
is to be foxind in the following excerpt from a review 
which appeared over the initials "H. W." in the Army 
and Navy Journal of June 29, 1912, the reviewer evi- 
dently having blindly followed the poorest portion of 
the author's work, or the summary of his conclusions : 

" 'Facts are stubborn things,' as the historian speedily found out, 
and while great credit must be conceded to the cadets of the 

The Virginia Military Institute 17 

Virginia Military Institute, the facts of history do not give them all 
the credit assumed for them by many writers on the subject. It 
would seem that the credit which is due the cadets on that occasion 
is the high example set by the boys composing the Battalion, who, 
for the first time, faced the dangers of battle, on that momentous 
day of May 15, 1864." 

Compare this with the author's preface, and we at 
once recognize the handiwork of the ordinary reviewer 
who reads the preface, glances over the chapter-head- 
ings, picks out an important date or two, writes a few 
commonplace lines, and adds one more good book to his 

Dr. Turner has established the fact that the cadets 
(originally in reserve) were first absorbed in the sup- 
port, gradually to become involved in the firing-line. 
This was due to the gradual contraction of the wings 
of the Confederate line of battle, towards the right and 
left, respectively, leaving a gap near the left center. 
Upon noticing the widening gap in his enemy's line, 
Sigel, with more judgment and precision than he dis- 
played at any other period of the combat, formed a 
heavy column for the countercharge to be directed into 
the gap, or against the weakest point of Breckinridge's 
line. (See pages 57, 75, 79.) 

Dr. Turner states in three places in his book that 
this was a "critical point" in the battle. From a strict 
mihtary standpoint it was more — Sigel recognized the 
fact that the very crisis of the combat, that breathless 
moment when victory and defeat are suspended in the 
balance, had arrived, and his coimtercharge was set in 
motion. It was the opinion of officers who witnessed 
the battle (and their views are adopted by Dr. 
Turner) that if this countercharge had succeeded in 
reaching the Confederate line, Breckinridge's Army 
would have been cut in twain, and a rout would have 
followed. This is certainly a reasonable conclusion, for 
the advance of both Confederate wings had ceased, and 
the regiment on the left of the cadets had actually fallen 
into confusion. (See page 59). This regiment could 

18 The Military History of 

hardly have opposed the column which Sigel was lead- 
ing toward the gap, nor could the troops on the right 
of the opening extend to their left. At this point, then, 
when the Federal countercharge was well organized, 
and actually underway, the Cadet Battalion, rectifying 
its alignment by marMng time under a terrific fire from 
the Federal batteries, was led obliquely to the right 
from its position in support of the left wing, into the 
gap, and delivered a heavy musketry fire at close range 
upon the 34th Massachusetts Infantry, which up to this 
moment had advanced almost vmresisted. 

Of the three regiments which had composed the Fed- 
eral column, two had been checked by the Confederate 
troops to the left of the cadets; but it seems plain that 
the Massachusetts regiment would have pressed home, 
liad the gap still been open. As it was, they all but 
succeeded under the cover of their supporting guns. 

On page 59, Dr Turner now tells us that after the 
repulse of the countercharge, the "hinder echelon" 
joined the firing line, and formed a solid line, together 
with the Sixty- Second Virginia of 800 veteran troops. 
This is conclusive of the fact that at least some of the 
"resolute veterans" were behind the cadets during the 
crisis of the combat. 

Having repulsed the countercharge, the firing-line 
was quickly reinforced, the troops pulled together, and 
a general advance ensued, which culminated in the giv- 
ing way, and retreat, of the enemy. In this general ad- 
vance, the cadets were incidentally in the lead. Indeed, 
this was a fine example and very naturally "stimulated 
the adjoining regiments to make the decisive charge." 

Dr. Turner should have mentioned the fact that the 
cadets were on the "gridiron" themselves, and not 
merely cheering from the "bleachers." There is a de- 
cided diffei-ence between "stimulating" and "leading," 
or even "acting in conjunction with." There is no neces- 
sary inference from the author's language that the 
cadets were in this final charge. On the contrary, one 
would be justified in assuming that they were not. 

The Virginia Military Institute 19 

Now, if the cadets repulsed, or contributed to the 
repulse of, the countercharge (as is stated by Dr. 
Tm-ner in three places), and if it be admitted that the 
countercharge, if successful, would have routed the Con- 
federate Army, the share the cadets bore was undoubt- 
edly more than that of "stimulating" others, or of 
setting a mere example. And, so, we see how our 
friend "H. W." of the Army and Navy Journal has 
been led astray by Dr. Turner. 

Dr. Turner is not an educated soldier, as is shown by 
the misuse of the word strategy (page 9), and his en- 
tire ignorance of the simplest military terms. Not be- 
ing a trained soldier, or a student of tactics and 
strategy, the intellectual and philosophical side of war, 
he fails utterly to grasp the real importance of the 
cadets' movements. He fails to recognize the psy- 
chological instant, or the crisis of the combat. He fails 
to note that the cadets, when absolutely no other troops 
were to be had for the purpose, without orders from 
Breckinridge, were led by their gallant commander to 
the right spot at just the right moment. He fails to 
appreciate Breckinridge's remarks to the cadets im- 
mediately after the battle, when he raised his hat and 
said: "Young gentlemen, I have to thank you for the 
result of to-day's operations." ( See page 88) . A com- 
manding officer is not apt to ride about his army making 
such speeches to single commands when there is no 
foundation for his words. General Breckinridge but 
expressed the contemporaneous opinion of himself as 
commander, which was no doubt based largely upon the 
observations and reports of his staff officers, and they 
had undoubtedly been in a far better position to follow 
the movements of the various commands than any of 
the line officers, for it was their duty to observe and 
control the whole, while the responsibility and observa- 
tions of the field and line officers were limited to the 
sphere of their own activities. 

If Dr. Turner had ever studied the works of Clause- 
witz, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Von der Goltz, Moltke, 

20 The Military History of 

Biilow, Wartenburg, Prince Kraff, and other military- 
philosophers, he would have accorded more considera- 
tion to the psychology of the battlefield. 

In Dr. Turner's discussion of the cadets' part in the 
capture of the guns he also shows an ever-present desire 
to deny them the credit of the capture, if by any possible 
argximent he can do so. It appears as if he were afraid 
to follow the evidence too closely, lest he might succeed 
in proving what he seems to think the impossible. 

Dr. Turner goes off on the question of the number 
of pieces captured, and the number of casualties in- 
curred by the cadets, as evidence against the reputed 
character of their charge. Assuming that but two 
pieces were captured by the cadets — and he admits the 
capture of as many — this fact shows why more loss was 
not inflicted upon the Corps by the battery, some of 
the guns of which limbered up and pulled out before 
the Battahon reached its position. The guns that 
limbered up could not have fired continuously during 
the few minutes it took the Corps to traverse the ap- 
proach to the battery, and those that remained in action 
were able to fire but a few rounds at most. Guns fired 
slowly those days, two rounds a minute being rapid 
work, and ranges for canister were short. Then, too, it 
must be remembered the cadets were moving at a rapid 

Dr. Turner declares the account of John S. Wise to 
be inaccurate and colored by imagination. He quotes 
largely from this account until it disagrees with his own 
views. Then he throws it aside as inaccurate. It is 
true John S. Wise was wounded early in the action, and 
claimed no first-hand knowledge of the movements of 
the Corps, from the first stage of the battle on, but what 
he wrote was based upon common contemporaneous re- 
port, and, strange to say, agrees in every respect with 
the accounts of Captain Town and Major Lang, both 
of Sigel's staff, and numerous other eye-witnesses. The 
writer ventures this assertion: that the majority of com- 
petent military critics to whom Dr. Turner's book 

The Virginia Military Institute 21 

might be submitted would hold Mr. Wise's account of 
the battle more accurate than the conclusions of Dr. 
Turner, with respect to the importance of the part 
played by the Corps of Cadets. 

No; it is not claimed that the cadets fought Sigel 
single-handed, or by their prowess alone won the battle. 
They did, however, help to save Breckinridge from de- 
feat at the very crisis of the combat, and took a leading 
part in the final stages of the engagement. The writer, 
in common with all other Sieves of the Virginia Military 
Institute, is deeply grateful to Dr. Turner for the last- 
ing record which he has prepared. "Facts are stubborn 
things," and can not be obscured by mere false con- 

In this work the author will undertake to record what 
probably happened at New Market, without the slight- 
est desire of claiming the impossible for the Cadet 
Corps, and to accord it due credit for its actual per- 
formances, and for the moral effect thereof, remember- 
ing that numbers and volume of fire are not the only 
elements of success on the battlefield. Napoleon did 
not take the bridge at Lodi with his sword, nor did the 
handful of men he led thereto defeat the enemy. But 
had he not taken the bridge at the critical moment the 
enemy would not have been defeated. In a similar 
sense it was that the Corps of Cadets helped to save 
the day at New Market. No reasonable person ever 
supposed for a moment that 250 cadets swept Sigel's 
Army from the field at the point of their bayonets, or 
drove his men from position with the volxmie of their 
fire. Nor has anyone, as far as the writer knows, 
claimed that the cadets could have accomplished what 
they did except in conjunction with the other valiant 
troops of Breckinridge's command.* 

And now a word as to the frontispiece of this book. 
It is taken from the painting of the Battle of New 
Market by the distinguished American artist, B. West 

*The substance of tlie foregoing criticism appeared over the author's name 
in the Eichmond Evening Jowmal, of July 4, 1912, and was Included In a 
pamphlet, entitled "V. M. I. Papers," printed in December, 1913. 

22 The Military History or 

Clinedinst, V. M. I., 1870. The painting was unveiled 
with appropriate ceremony at the Institute, June 24th, 
1914. It occupies the large groined arched space in 
rear of the chancel-like platform of the Jackson Me- 
morial Hall; its dimensions are 18 feet wide and 25 feet 
high, and the canvas is framed by the gold cornice. The 
near figures of the charging line of cadets are seven feet 
high. The scene is the heroic charge of the Cadet 
Battahon against Von Kleiser's Federal battery, which 
incident was the decisive action of the day and practi- 
cally closed the battle. 

The picture is a masterpiece of military portraiture. 
The colors are superb and true, and few pictures, not 
even those of Messonier, present more real military 
spirit and action. There are none of those exaggera- 
tions or offensive artistic liberties which artists so fre- 
quently find it necessary to call to their aid. It rings 
with truth, and the artist has succeeded without resort 
to artificialities. His appreciation of military points 
is testified to in innumerable ways, and as one, even 
the novice, or the most casual observer, gazes upon the 
noble work, he at once perceives the element of studious 
accuracy which characterizes it; the idea is compelhng. 

But the overwhelming elan of the youthful figures 
and the beauty of their action, individual and collective, 
is the primal feature of the work. It fascinates and gives 
one the feeling which a great human drama inspires in 
real life. There is nothing of the tragedy of death and 
carnage to strike horror into the breast of the onlooker. 
The work of the artist has avoided that too common de- 
feat in battle pictures. The red bandages which en- 
twine the youthful brows are not merely bloody — they 
appear more as crimson badges of heroic courage. The 
fallen lad appears more as a devote, prostrate before 
the shrine of valor, than as a maimed boy — a more 
vicarious sacrifice to the ruthless god of war. The flash 
of the picture is truly that of the hghtning bolt — ^not 
that of a horrid, consuming blaze the spark of which 
was struck by human hands. And, furthermore, the 

The Virginia Military Institute 23 

radiant canvas has a sound, a thing which few pictures 
possess. But it is not the awe-inspiring crash and rum- 
ble of the guns which hght up the sullen background 
with their lurid tongues of fire — it is more the soulful 
cry and the thrilling reverberation of the Valkyr's di- 
vine voice. 

God in all His power never staged a scene more hu- 
manly sublime than New Market. That day he set 
apart to immortal man as an eternal inspiration for 
youth. What more can be said by way of tribute to the 
artist, the final painter of the glorious deeds on that 
field enacted, than to say he has fully embraced his op- 

But yet, another word. Messonier or Detaille could 
not have painted this picture. No master could have 
done it, unless, like CUnedinst he had once worn the 
cadet coatee ; had trod the sacred precincts of Virginia's 
School of Arms, precincts hallowed by the erstwhile 
presence of a thousand heroes ; unless he had imbibed the 
spirit which sparkles over her eternal fountains of 
tradition. Such an one only could mix into his colors 
the truth of New Market. 

The other illustrations, with the exception of the 
pictures of the Institute, are reproductions of portraits 
at the Institute, none of which, as far as the author 
knows, have ever been reproduced before. These por- 
traits present the likenesses of that little body of men 
who together so largely made the Virginia Military 
Institute what in their day it was, and what at this time 
it is. 

Jennings C. Wise. 

24 The Military History of 



When the corner-stone of the present Cadet Bar- 
racks in Lexington was laid July 4, 1850, the seventy- 
six anniversary of the birth of our nation, and nearly 
eleven years before Virginia seceded from the Union, 
a distinguished American, John W. Brockenbrough of 
Virginia, called attention in the address which he de- 
livered on that occasion to "the portentous cloud gath- 
ering in the North." "In peace prepare for war," was 
the tenor of his words. 

Six years later, the General Assembly of Virginia, by 
Act of March, 1856, made a special appropriation of 
$10,000 for the purchase of a bronze rephca of Jean 
Antoine Houdon's statue of George Washington, to 
be placed before the sally-port of the Barracks in order, 
writes the historian, "that nothing might be wanting to 
make the Institute effective for usefulness to the State." 

Statues are but symbols, ofttimes idealizations, of 
the lives and thoughts of those they represent. It was 
well, therefore, that the heroic figure of Washington 
should be mounted hke a great silent sentinel — eternal 
guardian of the destinies of Virginia's youth — at the 
very sally-port of the hves of many of her citizens. But, 
in placing it there, did our legislators not have in 
mind the warnings which Washington, hke Brocken- 
brough, had uttered? Exactly eighty years before this 
statue was dedicated by Governor Henry A. Wise of 
Virginia, the great man whom it represents wrote these 
words into his last annual message to Congress: 

"The institution of a military academy is also recom- 
mended by cogent reasons. However pacific the gen- 
eral policy of a nation may be, it ought never to be 
without an adequate stock of military knowledge for 

The Virginia Military Institute 25 

emergencies. The jBrst would impair the energy of its 
character, and both would endanger its safety, or ex- 
pose it to greater evils, when war could not be avoided. 
Besides, that war might not often depend upon its own 
choice. In proportion as the observance of pacific 
maxims might exempt a nation from the necessity of 
practising the rules of the mihtary art, ought to be its 
care in preserving and transmitting, by proper estab- 
lishments, the knowledge of that art. Whatever argu- 
ment may be drawn from particular examples, super- 
ficially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject 
will evince that the art of war is both comprehensive and 
complicated; that it demands much previous study; and 
that the possession of it, in its most improved and per- 
fect state, is always of great moment to the security of 
a nation. This, therefore, ought to be a serious care of 
every government; and for this purpose, an academy 
where a regular course of instruction is given, is an ob- 
vious expedient which different nations have success- 
fully employed."* 

Washington's recommendations as to the creation of 
a National School of Arms was born of a bitter experi- 
ence. To-day we find the ultra-pacificists appealing to 
his military successes at the head of a citizen-soldiery, in 
support of their anti-militarism contentions. They ig- 
nore utterly Washington's own views as to the value of 
the troops he led. But those views were xmequivocally 
expressed. Wrote the peace-loving Father of our 
coimtry, "Regular troops alone are equal to the 
exigencies of modem war, as well for defence as offence, 
and when a substitute is attempted, it must prove 
illusory and ruinous. No militia will ever acquire the 
habits necessary to resist a regular force. The firmness 
requisite for the real business of fighting is only to be 
obtained by a constant course of discipline and service. 
I have never yet been witness to a single instance that 
can justify a different opinion, and it is most earnestly 
to be wished that the liberties of America may no longer 

•IT. S. Doc. Foreign Kel., Vol. Ill, pp. 31-2. 

26 The Military History of 

be trusted, in any material degree, to so precarious a 

How strange that the very man who dedicated the 
Washington statue at the Virginia Mihtary Institute, 
in 1856, should have signed the death-warrant of John 
Brown within three years thereafter, and that he should 
have witnessed the execution of the arch-traitor of the 
Union, with the Corps of Cadets as his military escort ! 

It must not be thought, however, that Washington 
originated the idea of a government military academy. 
Undoubtedly, his wide knowledge led him to appreciate 
the need of such an institution from the first ; but it was 
Henry Knox who first recommended its creation. 

After the defeat of the Americans on Long Island, 
in August, 1776, Congress resolved upon an entire re- 
organization of the Continental Army. The Con- 
gressional Committee appointed to investigate the 
matter of army reform called upon Colonel Knox, a 
young man twenty-six years of age, then in command 
of the artillery of the army, for suggestions concerning 
his arm of the service. 

In a report, characterized by great breadth of view 
and intimate familiarity with the needs of the service 
in general, Colonel Knox recommended, among many 
other things, that a school for artillery and engineer 
officers be established. The following are his exact 
words : 

"And, as officers can never act with confidence until 
they are masters of their profession, an academy es- 
tablished upon a liberal plan would be of the utmost 
service to the continent, where the whole theory and 
practice of fortification and gunnery should be taught, 
to be nearly on the same plan as Woolwich, making al- 
lowances for differences in circumstances — a place to 
which our enemies are indebted for the superiority of 
their artillery to all who have opposed them." (Report 
of Sept. 27, 1776). 

Knox's wise plan was not adopted at the time, and 
it was not until 1794 that the War Department under- 

The Virginia Military Institute 27 

took to compensate for the lack of a military school for 
the training of officers by attaching cadets to artillery 
regiments. This plan was a poor substitute, as we are 
informed by Secretary of War McHenry, in a letter 
dated June 28, 1798, in which he wrote: "It was sup- 
posed that these cadets would form a nursery from 
which qualified officers might be drawn to fill vacancies ; 
but it must occur that without proper masters to teach 
them the sciences necessary to the engineers and artiller- 
ists, this nursery can produce no valuable plants." 

In 1802, the Corps of Engineers was organized and 
stationed at West Point, New York, and so constituted 
as to form a military academy for the training of ar- 
tillery and engineer officers. But, notwithstanding the 
brilhant attainments and ability of Colonel Jonathan 
Wilhams, the first Superintendent, the school was not 
fruitful of the best returns until after the War of 1812 
when cadets were appointed in all branches of the ser- 
vice and attached to the academy for preliminary mili- 
tary and scientific training. 

It was in the year 1816 that President Monroe com- 
missioned Simon Bernard "an assistant in the Corps 
of Engineers of the United States with the rank of 
brigadier-general by brevet." In his capacity as the 
virtual chief of the Corps of Engineers, this great man 
exercised so marked an influence upon military in- 
struction in America, he may rightfully be called one of 
the fathers of West Point. 

A Frenchman by birth, Bernard had served as a gen- 
eral of Engineers in the Army of the Rhine under 
Napoleon, and in 1813 as aide-de-camp on the Em- 
peror's staff. Adhering to the Restoration, however, 
he later obtained permission to accept appointment in 
the American service and remained in the United States 
until the French Revolution of 1830, at which time he 
returned to France, planned the fortifications of Paris, 
and became Minister of War in 1834. 

While in America, Bernard not only planned the en- 
tire system of our coast defense fortifications, but many 

28 The Military History of 

of the great civil engineering works of the country. But 
it is in his connection with the development of West 
Point that his work particularly interests us. 

In December, 1818, he rendered a report on the Mili- 
tary Academy in which he expressed, among others, the 
following views : 

"1. That elementary schools are necessary to supply the wants 
of the army and for the instruction of the militia. 

"2. That the elementary schools for the army and those for 
the use of the militia should be distinct from each other. 

"3. That several elementary schools are necessary for the 
instruction of the militia." 

Of his constructive services to America, Major-Gen- 
eral William H. Carter, Assistant Chief of Staff U. S. 
Army (1914),- writes, "His training and engineering 
skill were of great moment to the nation when West 
Point, the Ahna Mater of Military Engineering in 
America, was yet in its swaddling clothes. His earlier 
European experiences in campaign and battle were 
tinged with brilliancy and romance, but his genius laid 
the foundation of constructive work in America which 
will live and be builded upon for the benefit of mankind 
long after the stories of his battles have lost their power 
to quicken the pulse of a prosaic age." (Journal of the 
Military Service Institution, Sept.-Oct., 1912). 

With Simon Bernard came another great Frenchman 
to America, Captain Claude Crozet. Crozet was born at 
Villefranche, near Lyons, January 1st, 1790. At four- 
teen years of age, he was admitted to the Polytechnic 
School, Paris; was graduated in 1807 as a sub-lieu- 
tenant of Artillery; and then proceeded to Metz for 
the special course of instruction given there to artillery 
and engineer officers. After two years at this fortress, 
he joined the headquarters of the Emperor near Vienna, 
just in time to participate in the memorable battle of 
Wagram. During the next two years yoimg Crozet 
received from the hands of the Emperor the Cross of 
the Legion of Honor, and was promoted to the grade 
of Captain in the Imperial Corps of Artillery attached 

The Virginia Military Institute 29 

to the division of Marshal Ney, then preparing for the 
invasion of Russia. 

On the disastrous retreat of the Imperial Army from 
Moscow, Captain Crozet was captured and held pris- 
oner in the interior two years. After the Treaty of 
Paris in 1814, he returned to France, several months 
after Napoleon's departure for Elba. By order of the 
King, the "Decoration de Lys" was now conferred upon 
him, and he was restored to his old rank in the army; 
but he declined to re-enter the military service imtil the 
Emperor returned from his first exile. At the termina- 
tion of the "Hundred Days", he was again without em- 
ployment; and on Jvme 6, 1816, provided with letters 
from the Marquis de Lafayette and others well ac- 
quainted in America, he set sail, with Bernard, to seek 
his fortune in the new republic of the United States. 

Through Bernard's influence, Crozet was almost im- 
mediately appointed Professor of Engineering at the 
Military Academy, entering upon his duties there 
February 1st, 1817. 

Under Captain Crozet, instruction was first given at 
West Point in Descriptive Geometry, Analytical Trigo- 
nometry, Differential and Integral Calculus, Civil 
Engineering and the Principles of Machines. At that 
time, there was no text-book in the United States on 
Descriptive Geometry; and until Captain Crozet's 
treatise was issued in 1821, instruction in the subject 
at West Point was entirely oral.* 

In 1824, Captain Crozet's health compelled him to 
relinquish the confining employment of a professor, and 
he accepted at this time an appointment as State 
Engineer of Virginia. During the nine years he served 
as such he urged a lock and dam system of improvement 
of the James River from Richmond to Lynchburg, and 
in 1830 further urged the construction of a railroad 
connecting the canal with the Kanawha River, thus 

*The influence of Crozet on tlie academic organization of the Institute will 
be readily perceived by all the Alumni. He introduced descriptive geonietry 
at the V. M. I. and his text-book was here taught for years. The subject 
still remains in the curriculum course, and for sentimental reasons, if no other, 
may it ever remain. It is taught at but lew institutions In America, except 
as a special topic. 

30 The Military History or 

uniting the eastern and western waters. In 1832 he ac- 
cepted the office of State Engineer of Louisiana, but 
the following year gave up active engineering and be- 
came President of Jefferson College, Louisiana. In 
1837, he again became State Engineer of Virginia. Such 
had been the career of the man who was, as first Presi- 
dent of its Board of Visitors, soon to aid in moulding the 
destinies of the Virginia Military Institute.* 

In February, 1816, the very year that Bernard and 
Crozet sailed for America, the General Assembly of 
Virginia provided for the erection of three arsenals, in 
each of which were to be stored 20,000 stand of arms. 
One of these arsenals was to be situated west of the 
Alleghany Mountains, or in that section of the State 
since become West Virginia; one of the others was 
located in Richmond, and one in Lexington. For each 
arsenal a company of State Guards consisting of one 
captain, one sergeant, 28 privates, and two musicians, 
was to be mustered into the service of the Common- 
wealth, and the pei'iod of enlistment was fixed at five 
years. The regulations, pay and allowances for these 
troops were the same as those provided by Congress 
for the regular army. The act authorizing the erection 
of the arsenals directed the arms held by the militia to 
be turned into the arsenals as soon as they were ready 
to receive them for storage and care. Certain militia 
organizations were designated to retain their arms. The 
context of the Act clearly shows that continuous neglect 
of State property caused the establishment of the 

*In 1849 Captain Crozet was selected to locate and construct tlie Blue 
Kldge Railroad from Albemarle County through Rock Fish Gap, to Augusta 
County, as a State improvement. This proved a very difficult undertaking, 
and involved construction of several tunnels with many complications. The 
work was completed and turned over to the predecessors of the present 
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company, in 1856 ; and soon after Captain Crozet 
was invited to Washington by the Secretary of War to assume the position 
of principal assistant to Captain M. C. Meigs, Corps of Engineers, on the Con- 
struction of the Aqueduct. Captain Crozet is credited with the planning 
and construction of the existing aqueduct bridge connecting Georgetown with 
the Virginia shore, near the Arlington estate. He was separated from the 
Aqueduct engineering work in 1859, on account of exhaustion of funds, and 
returned to Richmond, Virginia, where, as Principal of Richmond Academy, 
he resided until his death in 1864. For a full account of his life, see article 
by Gen. Wm. H. Carter, Journal of the Military Service Institution. .Tuly- 
August, 1913. Captain Crozet's protrait hangs in the Jackson Memorial Hall 
at the Virginia Military Institute. 

The Virginia Military Institute 31 

arsenals, and not any sudden desire to accumulate sur- 
plus armament against future exigencies.* 

From the passage of the foregoing Act until the out- 
break of the War between the States, Virginia had a 
standing army only excelled in point of diminutiveness 
by the famous army of the Prince of Monaco. But 
while the enlisted men of the Lexington Company were 
not engaged in the protection of legalized gambling, 
they were, nevertheless, an undesirable element in the 
social economy of aristocratic Lexington. The care of 
the 30,000 stand of arms which were accumulated in the 
arsenal, the necessary guard-duty and drill, a tri- 
monthly muster and inspection, by no means fully oc- 
cupied their time ; and the members of the idle command 
were in the nature of things of such a low social order 
as to be objectionable to the thrifty people of Lexing- 
ton, a town then numbering possibly 1,500 inhabitants, 
or about half the present population. 

In Virginia, in the early part of the nineteenth 
century, there were few towns larger than Lexington; 
and among its residents, by reason of the presence of 
Washington College, were to be found an altogether 
disproportionate mmiber of intellectual persons. Fur- 
thermore, the town was the County seat of Rockbridge, 
in a section rich in agriculture and cattle, and located 
on the James River and Kanawha Canal. 

In the nature of things, Lexington had frequently 
been visited by Captain Crozet while engaged in the 
construction of the canal. As State Engineer, he knew 
of the Arsenal; as a soldier and an Sieve of a French 
Mihtary Institute, a former Professor at West Point, 
and fresh from his labors in organizing and building up 
the National School of Arms in company with Bernard, 
he xmdoubtedly perceived the opportunity offered Vir- 
ginia; and, in all probability, discussed with some of 
its principal citizens the project of founding a military 
school in Lexington long ere it took tangible form. He 
pointed out to them, no doubt, that in the period of our 

*See Revised Qode of Virginia, 1819, Vol. I, pp. 125, 126. 

32 The Military History or 

Revolutionary War, the country was entirely de- 
pendent upon foreigners to supply the scientific corps 
of the army with officers — such as military engineers, 
officers of ordnance and topography, as well as tacticians 
and strategists. He called attention to Washington's 
recommendations and views regarding military edu- 
cation and he repeated the words of Professor D. H. 
Mahan of West Point, who had declared that, "Military 
knowledge, that essential element of a nation's safety, 
which, like our own, depends upon her citizen soldiery, 
in a moment of danger, is at the lowest ebb. To so 
great a degree was this the case, it may safely be 
averred that, at the commencement of the War of 1812, 
twenty-five native-born citizens could not have been 
brought together throughout the entire length and 
breadth of our country, who were capable of discharg- 
ing the simplest duties of military engineering in the 

In December, 1834, the plan of substituting a mili- 
tary school for the Lexington Company of State Guards 
was finally discussed at a meeting of the Franklin Liter- 
ary Society in Lexington, and endorsed by most of its 
members, among whom were many prominent pro- 
fessional men and other citizens of the town. The dis- 
cussion led to the publication in August, 1835, in the 
Lexington Gazette of a series of three articles, over the 
nom de plume of "Civis", proposing the plan for public 

Now, "Civis" was John Thomas Lewis Preston, Esq., 
a prominent young lawyer of Lexington, who has ex- 
pressly declared that he was not the originator of the 
idea.* Crozet had been away from Virginia less than 
two years, and it seems reasonable to conclude that he 
was one of the originators of the plan, if not solely re- 
sponsible for its first suggestion. 

In the elaboration of the plan, however, Preston, who 
was not a soldier by education and training, took the 

•History of the Virginia Military Institute, Smith, p. 14. 





The Virginia Military Institute .S3 

leading part. This, iindoubtedly, accoimts for the fact 
that little mention was at first made of West Point. He 
stated the object of the proposed measure to be "to 
supply the place of the present guard by another, com- 
posed of young men from seventeen to twenty-four 
years of age, to perform the necessary duties of a guard, 
who would receive no pay, but, in lieu, have afforded to 
them the opportunities of a liberal education." In other 
words, he lost sight, through lack of a proper imder- 
standing of the needs of the coimtry and of the state, 
of the primary concept of the originator of the idea.* 
But though lacking in military training Mr. Preston 
was brilhant and capable. A typical Virginian in ap- 
pearance, he was six feet in height, well proportioned, 
graceful, courteous, dignified, cordial, quick-witted, 
fluent, masterful, and, therefore, had the qualities which 
make good ofiicers. With natural gifts of exceptional 
order he had received at Washington College, the Uni- 
versity of Virginia, and Yale College, the best education 
the country afforded. His tastes for intellectual pur- 
suits had been fostered by his profession and by foreign 
travel, as well as by constant study and reading. He 
was a grandson of Edmund Randolph, Washington's 
Secretary of State, and in his veins coursed the cavalier 
blood of the Nicholases, Peytons, and other equally dis- 
tinguished families, as well as the sturdy strain of the 
Scotch-Irish Prestons. 

Lexington and Rockbridge County were not slow to 
recognize the wisdom of "Civis" and a memorial was 
soon presented the Virginia Legislature urging the 
adoption of the plan, by Mr. Preston in person; which 
resulted in an Act of Assembly, 1835-6, providing for 
the disbanding of the Lexington Arsenal, the substitu- 
tion of a mihtary school therefor, and the appointment 
of a Board of Visitors, consisting of four members, with 
the Adjutant-General, eao-officio. At first, the Legis- 

*Ibia, pp. 15, 18, 21. 

34 The Military History or 

lature contemplated the organization of the School as 
a mere department of or annex to Washington College ; 
but amended its original Act in 1837-38; repealed it 
outright in 1838-39; and in March, 1839, gave the 
School an entirely independent organization. 

The new School, the second governmental Military 
Academy in America (West Point being the first), 
was named by Mr. Preston. "Virginia Mihtary Insti- 
tute seemed appropriately significant, Virginia as a 
State Institution, neither sectional nor denominational. 
Military, indicating its characteristic feature. Institute, 
as something different from either college or university. 
The three elements thus indicated are the basis of a 
triangular pyramid of which the sides will preserve their 
mutual relation to whatever height the structure may 

The Virginia Military Institute was created just as 
Captain Crozet resumed his office as State Engineer of 
Virginia. We are told that he was "persuaded" to ac- 
cept reappointment. Can it be that the consummation 
of a pet scheme in the founding of the Military Institute 
had something to do with his decision? At any rate, 
he was immediately appointed President of the first 
Board of Visitors, and set about the work of organiza- 
tion with the same spirit he and Bernard had displayed 
at West Point, To him is due much credit for the orig- 
inal scheme of organization and development, for at 
once the lay ideas of Preston were supplanted by the 
professional ideas of the French soldier, and the cadet 
stepped forth in the uniform of the young Guard of 
France, already adopted at the National Academy! 

From the outset, the School was impressed with the 
most thorough mihtary character. Besides the Gover- 
nor, the Adjutant- General, and three civilians (one of 
whom, James McDowell, was subsequently Governor 
of Virginia), the first Board of Visitors contained 
Colonel Claude Crozet (President), Captain John F. 
Wiley, a veteran of 1812, General Thomas H. Botts, 

The Virginia Military Institute 35 

General Charles P. Dorman, and General Peter C. 
Johnston.* With four generals, one colonel, and one 
captain on the Board, the military idea seems to have 
been quite carefully kept in view ! Governor Campbell 
knew that soldiers were best qualified to do a soldier's 

The influence of Crozet and his military comrades of 
the first Board is clearly reflected in the original cur- 
riculum of study prescribed, which embraced Mathe- 
matics, Mechanics, Chemistry, Engineering, Tactics, 
French, German, Enghsh, and German Literature. 

*Peter C. Johnston was the brother of Joseph B. Johnston. General 
Thomas H. Botts married Mary Stone, of Fredericksburg, about 1829. Both 
died before the war. Their children were William, Benjamin, Henry, Albert, 
and Mary Berkeley. Bernard Peyton was born March 14, 1792. Died June 
21, 1854. He married Julia Green, October 1, 1817. Peyton was appointed 
first lieutenant in the 20th infantry, U. S. A., on March 12, 1812, and became 
captain in the same on April 16, 1813. In 1825 he was appointed Adjutant- 
General of Virginia, in which office he was succeeded by William H. Richardson. 
From 1838 to 1844 he was postmaster of Richmond. His children were Thomas 
Jefferson, Bernard, Moses Green, Thomas Green, Susan Scott, and Julia A. 

36 The Military History of 



In the foregoing chapter the influence of West Point 
upon the creation of a School of Arms in Virginia has 
been clearly demonstrated; and it is not difficult to 
understand that the views of Washington, Knox, and 
Bernard were entertained by Crozet, as well as by the 
other prominent military men connected with the Mili- 
tary Institute of Virginia, when it was jfirst estabhshed. 
The voice of these men was certainly a controlhrig one 
in all the dehberations of the first governing body of 
the School; and, thoroughly in accord with Crozet, his 
fellow-soldiers, as well as the other illustrious members 
of the Board, were only too glad to give him a free hand 
in the organization of the Institute. 

The keynote of the new system of education they 
proposed was that first, last, and all the time the cadet- 
student should be a soldier, for it was not believed by 
the founders of the School that military training, with 
the habits of discipline in mind and body which it in- 
volved, was in any way subversive of, or inconsistent 
with, good citizenship. Their purpose was not to sup- 
ply officers for the regular military establishment, — nor 
has such been the aim of the authorities at any time, 
except during the period of the Civil War. The mission 
of the Institute was clearly differentiated from that of 
the National Academy, the sole aim of which has neces- 
sarily been to furnish the nation with officers trained in 
the fundamental principles of command. The Vir- 
ginia Military Institute, on the other hand, was created 
for the purpose of providing a liberal education, coupled 
with a mihtary training, in the belief that its graduates 
would prove valuable citizens, all the more useful be- 

♦Norwicli University of Vermont dates from 1819, but it is a private 
institution and one in wliich the military feature is not of paramount im- 

The Virginia Military Institute 37 

cause capable of bearing arms efficiently in the hour of 
their country's need. The whole conception of the 
School was in accord with the recommendation of Wash- 
ington which has already been cited. "However pacific 
the general pohcy of a nation may be, it ought never 
to be without an adequate stock of military knowledge 
for emergencies." Congress recognized the national 
want by the creation of West Point. Virginia met the 
needs of her people in the establishment of her own 
Mihtary Institute. Thus, the nation undertook to sup- 
ply the trained regular, and the Old Dominion the 
trained volimteer officer, — acts on the part of each 
thoroughly compatible with the spirit of the Federal 

Having framed their general plan, the Board of 
Visitors recognized the fact that its successful develop- 
ment depended upon the character and abihties of the ■ 
man who should superintend its execution. Accord- 
ingly, there was no hurry in the selection of that official. 
Estabhshed by legislative Act of March, 1837, it was 
not until April, 1839, after nearly two years of careful 
investigation, that the first Superintendent for the 
School was decided upon, and he was invited to pre- 
sent his acceptance of appointment to the Board the 
following month. 

Happily, the choice fell upon one whose subsequent 
career ably testifies to the wisdom of the selection. 

Francis Henney Smith was born in Norfolk, Vir- 
ginia, October 18, 1812, of aristocratic Enghsh and Vir- 
ginia parents. He was, then, a gentleman by blood, 
environment, and early training. July 1, 1829, he was 
appointed a cadet of the United States Military 
Academy, and was graduated with distinction with the. 
Class of 1833. As to his associates during the period 
of his cadetship, and the character of his education, one 
need only consult the records of the Academy. Both 
were the highest the country afforded. 

November 30, 1833, he was assigned to the celebrated 
First Artillery with the rank of second lieutenant, and 

38 The Military History or 

thus again he was thrown in contact with men of dis- 
tinguished character and ability. But his military ser- 
vice was of short duration, for he, like many other 
officers of the time, resigned from the army to enter 
the civil walks of life. The army at that period offered 
small prospect of advancement, and, in fact, the life of 
the soldier held little allurement for men of intellect, 
not specially devoted to a military career. And, so it 
was that Lieutenant Smith resigned his commission. 
May 1, 1836, to accept the professorship of Mathe- 
matics, — a subject in which he was particularly gifted, 
— at Hampden- Sidney College, Virginia. 

Although one finds no mention of the matter in the 
records of the Institute, the writer is inchned to believe 
a certain influence led to the selection of Francis H. 
Smith as the first executive and Principal Professor of 
the Institute. At any rate, the following circumstances 
are narrated: 

William Nelson Pendleton, of Caroline County, Vir- 
ginia, was graduated from West Point, July 4, 1830. 
He was a First Classman at the Academy when Smith 
entered as a "plebe," and being from Virginia naturally 
became interested in his fellow-countryman, as cadets 
are wont to do. A great reUgious revival was sweeping 
over the country at the time, and the spirit invaded the 
Academy. Pendleton and Smith were both intensely 
rehgious, and were, therefore, more than ordinarily con- 
genial. In September, 1831, Lieutenant Pendleton of 
the Artillery was ordered back to the Academy as 
Assistant Professor of Mathematics, in which capacity 
he served for one year. In October, 1833, after an irk- 
some year of garrison life, Pendleton resigned his com- 
mission and accepted the professorship of Mathematics 
at the newly organized Episcopal College, near Bristol, 
Pennsylvania. In May, 1837, he was ordained Deacon 
in the Protestant Episcopal Church, Diocese of Vir- 
ginia, by Bishop Meade at the Convention in Peters- 
burg, Virginia, and accepted a professorship at Newark 
College, Delaware. In 1839 he was appointed Head- 

The Virginia Military Institute 39 

Master of the Episcopal High School, near Alexandria, 
which Bishop Meade founded that year.* 

General Smith tells us that the offer of appointment 
as professor at the Institute came to him through Rev. 
George A. Baxter, D. D., President of the Theological 
Seminary at Alexandria. Dr. Baxter and Pendleton 
were well acquainted and both had just attended a meet- 
ing of the Episcopal Synod in Lexington, where the ap- 
pointment of a Superintendent for the Institute was 
being widely discussed. It is possible, therefore, that 
Pendleton may have suggested the name of his friend, 
whose presence in Virginia, whose skill as a teacher, 
training as a soldier, and character as a Christian, all 
recommended his fitness for the position. 

And yet, the name of Francis H. Smith may have 
been suggested in another way to the Board of Visitors. 
Joseph Reid Anderson of Richmond, later a Confeder- 
ate brigadier-general, and the noted proprietor of the 
Tredegar Iron Works, had been a cadet at West Point 
with Smith. After serving as a lieutenant in the Third 
Artillery, he transferred to the Engineer Corps in 1836 
and resigned his commission in 1837 to become First 
Assistant Engineer of Virginia. This placed Anderson 
in intimate association with Crozet, the President of the 
Board of Visitors, who was Chief Engineer of Vir- 
ginia. There is good authority for the behef that 
Anderson himself was Crozet's first choice but declined 
to be a candidate. Smith always believed that Ander- 
son was a candidate for the office and the amusing story 
has become current that when the names of Anderson 
and Smith were being discussed before the Board, the 
advocates of the two candidates devoted most of their 
time to singing the praises of Mrs. Anderson and Mrs. 
Smith. The story further has it that this more or less 
irrelevant discussion continued without signs of abating 
until the humorous Crozet rose and called for a vote 
as to which one of the ladies should be Superintendent ! 

•Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton, Lee. 

40 The Military History of 

Colonel Joseph R. Anderson, the present Historiog- 
rapher of the Institute, declares that his father's name 
never came before the Board; that he was not a candi- 
date ; and that he was merely approached by Crozet and 
declined to become a candidate. Having been a cadet 
with Smith, it is possible, therefore, that Anderson sug- 
gested Smith's name to Crozet. 

The foregoing facts have been presented at some 
length for the purpose of fully tracing out the West 
Point influence upon the Institute, a matter which has 
never been adequately presented. 

The appointment of Smith was also advocated by 
Major Charles H. Smith, of Norfolk, Paymaster U. S. 
Army, who was brother-in-law of General Thomas H. 
Botts, of the Board of Visitors; but we have no reason 
to believe that Major Smith first suggested the name of 
his friend to the Board. 

The original plan of the founders of the School con- 
templated a quota of 40 cadets, one to be appointed 
from each senatorial district of the State. Smith, who 
had acquired uncommon repute as a teacher, and who 
was a man of ambition, was unwilhng to accept a posi- 
tion of such limited scope as that offered him, and de- 
clined to appear before the Board of Visitors, as 
requested; but, notwithstanding this attitude on his 
part, he was unanimously elected Principal Professor, 
with rank of major, and duties as Commandant of 
Cadets, June 8, 1839. July 1, he accepted the appoint- 
ment after long and thoughtful deliberation. 

The first official act of Major Smith was to confer 
with Colonel Thayer, the distinguished and successful 
Superintendent of West Point, for the purpose of secur- 
ing suggestions from him, as well as samples of the 
uniforms, arms and equipment in use at the Academy. 
Soon after his acceptance, he received a letter from 
Colonel Crozet which placed at rest all fears the soldier 
Smith entertained about the military character to be 
imparted to the new School. An extract from that 
letter follows : 

The Virginia Military Institute 41 

"Lexington, September 12, 1829. 

"Major Francis H. Smith. 

"Dear Sir — You will receive by mail a printed copy of the 
Eegulations adopted by the Eoard of Visitors for the government 
of the Virginia Military Institute. 

"We understand that it is your intention to take a trip to the 
North previous to your coming to this place: in this event, you 
might assist the Board in procuring several things which will be 
wanted at, or shortly after, the opening of the Institute. Among 
them are some parts of the uniform and accoutrements, which, you 
will observe, are similar to those used at West Point. 

"Would it be convenient to you, while there, to inquire what 
prospect there would be of obtaining 100 such muskets and com- 
plete accoutrements as are used there, and to take such steps as 
will secure this object speedily, as also from fifty to one hundred 
caps introduced by Major Delafield without the plate, of course? 
The muskets and equipment will be obtained from the U. S. Gov- 
ernment, free of charge. It will, consequently, be sufficient to 
apply for them in the proper quarter, and correspond with General 
Peyton, if necessary, on the subject, as regards the caps. If you 
can purchase them, you can draw, or direct the merchant to draw, 
on Mr. Hugh Barclay, the Treasurer of the Institution."* 

Observe how Crozet used the word, "Institute." That 
was the term he applied by habit to his own Ahna 
Mater. Can it be doubted that he proposed the name 
to Preston? Also, observe that he is in Lexington 
busying himself with his pet hobby. Honoring General 
Smith for his superb executive ability, we must in 
justice to truth deny him both the titles of "father" and 
of "foimder" of the Institute, for such was Claude 

The annual cost to the State of maintaining the Lex- 
ington Arsenal and the Guard therefor was $6,000. 
Upon the creation of the Institute, as a substitute for 
the Arsenal, the same amoimt was provided for the sup- 
port of the school. This annuity was quite inadequate, 
and the ^.vailable quarters and facilities were equally so. 
But, in September, 1839, twenty State Cadets and thir- 
teen Pay Cadets were appointed by the Board, and 
ordered to report for duty November 11th. 

•Smith's History, p. 46. 

42 The Military History of 

The Superintendent met the Board for the first time 
on the 11th of November, 1839, when he reported for 
duty, and was placed in command of the Virginia Mih- 
tary Institute. He was, personally, a stranger to every 
member of the Board, but was received by them with 
such courtesy and consideration as to inspire him with 
great encouragement and hopefulness as he entered 
upon the discharge of his responsible duties. 

Twenty cadets reported for duty, were examined by 
the Superintendent in Franklin Hall, in the presence of 
the Board of Visitors; and, their duties having been 
fully explained to them, under the regulations, they 
signed their matriculation obligation, and were then 
marched by their commanding officer to the Arsenal, 
relieving the Public Guard of their duty, and were 
placed in charge of the public property; while Ad- 
jutant-General Peyton raised the flag of Virginia over 
the walls of the Virginia Military Institute, to signahze 
the exclusive proprietorship of Virginia in the Institu- 
tion, and her purpose to maintain and defend it. 

Such was the inspiring ceremony attending the 
entrance of America's second School of Arms upon the 
field of national — ^nay more, world-wide usefulness. The 
incident was epochal; and what were the sentiments 
animating those who participated in the dedication of 
this School of Arms to the Majesty of Virginia, can only 
be suggested by the lines which a noble woman, the wife 
of the first Superintendent, contributed to the occasion. 
As we read them, we are reminded of the prayer which 
a little group of Enghshmen offered to God May 13, 
1607, as they stood with heads bared and bowed on the 
strange shore of Jamestown Island, and of those other 
pilgrims who later knelt upon the rock of Plymouth, — 
both with an unknown world and future stretching out 
before them : 

"Our work is nobly done, 

We have raised our flag on high, 
A pledge is made at Freedom's shrine 
That speaks in every eye; 

The Virginia Military Institute 43 

And hearts with fervor and with faith 

In youthful courage strong, 
Are echoing back the patriot cry: 

My country, right or wrong. 

"It is waving high in air, 

And Liberty's proud form. 
Borne upward by the mountain breeze. 

In sunshine and in storm. 
Is planted on the tyrant's breast; 

Thus shall it ever be. 
For while Virginia owns her name. 

Her gallant sons are free. 

"It is waving high in air, 

We will guard it while we live. 
Our fathers shed their hearts 

This heritage to give. 
No traitor spirit soils our ranks. 

Our birthright we will keep. 
And freemen proudly tread the soil. 

Till under it we sleep." 

These lofty sentiments proved to be no vain boast, for 
within a quarter of a century from the day they were 
expressed, — a day when nature gently spread her carpet 
of snow over the blue hills which surroimded the scene, 
as if in token of the purity of the new-born child, — Vir- 
ginia's soil was reddened with the blood of many of those 
present, including a number of the twenty cadets who, 
on November 11, 1839, pledged their allegiance to the 
Old Dominion. Within that time, 249 Sieves of the 
Virginia Mihtary Institute proved their devotion to the 
flag they had been taught to follow by offering up their 
lives upon the altar of Liberty! Verily, did the school 
of Crozet make useful citizens of Virginia's youth! 
Verily, did the form of Washington which stood before 
the sally-port of their barracks inspire them with that 
patriotism synonymous with his name; for when the 
Mother of States uttered in the anguish of her soul the 
battle-cry of freedom, over 1,700 of her children, bearing 
on their shields the V. M. I. motto, "In Pace Decus, In 
Bello Prsesidium," seized their arms and responded to 

44 The Military History or 

her summons! Glorious, glorious record, unequalled in 
the history of man ! Can it be forgotten by the South- 
land or any other country where men are bred? How 
noble the precept, how priceless the heritage, Virginia's 
Military Institute has transmitted to the posterity of 
our united nation. Let it be forgotten that these valiant 
sons of the V. M. I. arrayed themselves in battle against 
their fellow-men, and only let it be remembered, and 
recorded in paraphrase : 

They pledged themselves at Freedom's shrine, 

In youthful courage strong, 
And echoed back the patriot's cry: 

"My country, right or wrong." 
No traitor spirit soiled their ranks, 

Their lives a birthright kept: 
With honor bled for native soil. 

Till under it they slept. 

The Virginia Military Institute 45 


"the west point of the south" and major gilham 

We can not in a work of this character expect to 
follow out in detail the physical development of the 
Virginia Mihtary Institute. Suffice it to say that the 
Superintendent fuUy comprehended the opportunity 
before him and with great zeal turned every advantage 
to account. The following brief accoimt of the physical 
condition of the post when turned over to the Virginia 
Mihtary Institute is interesting:* 

"The buildings, as they were occupied by the old State 
Guard, consisted of a barracks of brick, two stories high, 
and an Arsenal four stories high, also of brick, contain- 
ing boxes packed with flint-lock muskets and rifles, cart- 
ridge boxes and 'pipe clay' leather belts. The buildings 
were enclosed by a brick wall, twenty feet high, and the 
windows of the Barracks were securely defended by 
stout iron bars, to restrain the wandering propensities 
of the guard. The only lights used for the cadets were 
tin lamps in which whale oil was burned. The water 
consumed by cadets, both for ablution and for drinking 
purposes, was hauled in barrels from springs near the 

"The basement of the Arsenal, with a brick floor, was 
utilized for a mess hall, and was heated by an ordinary 
iron stove. The steward and commissary, with his fam- 
ily, occupied two or three rooms in the central portion 
of the second story of the Barracks. 

"The present parade ground was partly under culti- 
vation as a corn field, intersected by worm fences, and 
unoccupied by any buildings except a few log cabins, 
which were utilized as section rooms. There was no 
professor's house as yet constructed; except a brick 
house, built for the Superintendent, Major Smith, 

•Written by Col. Edmund Pendleton, Class of 1842, one of the original 
matriculates, for the V. M. I. Bom6 of 1896. 

46 The Military History of 

which stood at the west end of the Barracks, with its 
gable fronting southward. 

"The only tree on the parade ground at that time 
was the hickory known as the 'Guard Tree,' which still 
stands on the grounds. There were a few cedar trees on 
the face of the hill, which have long since ceased to exist. 
The face of the hill was deeply cut by gullies, which 
have since been filled up. No path or avenue at that 
time connected the V. M. I. with Washington College, 
and the only way of reaching the town of Lexington 
was by a pathway leading down the hill to the extension 
of Main Street. 

"Those who are old enough to remember the winter 
of 1839 and '40, will recall it as a winter conspicuous 
for its severity. The ground, from the 11th of No- 
vember, was covered with snow for the greater portion 
of the winter. But military discipline and the regular 
performance of guard duty was strictly enforced in 
spite of the weather. At that time no tailors had been 
appointed at the Institute, and the sole dependence of 
the cadets for proper clothing was upon the few tailors 
in the town of Lexington. The clothing department 
was not yet organized, and not until after the newly- 
appointed cadets had arrived, were any purchases made 
of cloth or buttons for the uniforms. The temporary 
supply of rough blanket overcoats was purchased for 
the use of the sentinels, to protect them against the 
severe wintry blasts. The consequence was that colds 
were very prevalent among the cadets, and great dis- 
satisfaction and a spirit of mutiny prevailed to a large 
extent. So much so that a meeting assembled and 
angrily discussed the question whether they would not 
disband and return to their homes. This action, on be- 
ing put to the vote, very narrowly escaped being de- 
cided in the affirmative ; but the resolute spirit of a few 
of the cadets, upheld and encouraged by their young 
Superintendent, who was then but twenty-six years 
old, saved the imperilled life of the Institute." 

The Virginia Military Institute 47 

It is proper to record here the names of the original 
matriculates in the Corps of Cadets, or those cadets 
who comprised the Corps of 1839-40. They were: 

1. John S. L. Logan^ of Rockbridge County. 

2. Philip J. Winn, of Fluvanna County. 

*3. Thomas J. B. Cramer, of Frederick County. 

4. James Kanney, of Rockingham County. 

5. John W. Jones, of Shenandoah County. 
*6. John T. Smith, of Norfolk City. 

*7. James H. Jameson, of Culpeper County. 

*8. Charles P. Deyerle, of Roanoke County. 

*9. Valentine C. Saunders, of Loudoun County. 

*10. W. M. Elliott, of Buckingham County. 

*11. John B. Strange, of Albemarle County. 

12. Benjamin Sharp, of Lee County. 

13. Charles A. Crump, of Powhatan County. 
*14. O. M. Knight, of Nottoway County. 

15. B. B. Tibbs, of Monongalia County. 

*16. James H. Lawrence, of Caroline County. 

*17. William A. Forbes, of Richmond City. 

18. Henry B. Sumpter, of Campbell County. 

*19. Edmund Pendleton, of Botetourt County. 

*20. William D. Fair, of Amherst County. 

*21. William S. Beale, of Shenandoah County. 

*22. Joseph W. Bell, of Augusta County. 

23. C. E. Carter, of Albemarle County. 

*24i. William H. Henderson, of Loudoun County. 

*25. Louis A. Garnett, of Essex County. 

*26. James Marshall, of Warren County. 

27. Lemuel B. Pryor, of Brunswick County. 

28. David Chilton, of Kanawha County. 

29. Hamilton L. Shields, of Norfolk City. 

30. John S. Swann, of Powhatan County. 

31. R. B. Worthington, of . 

Of the foregoing named matriculates Shields and 
Swann entered the Institute December 5, 1839 ; Worth- 
ington March 1, 1840, and all the others at the opening 
of the Institute. Those before whose name appears a 
star were graduated in 1842 except Beale, who was 
graduated the following year. 

As the spring of 1840 opened, practical military in- 
struction was commenced and the 81 cadets in their trim 
coatees soon comprised a natty military company as 

48 The Military History of 

excellent in drill as in discipline and personnel. From 
the hour Major Smith took command of the httle Corps, 
every cadet had been held to a strict account for the 
performance of his duty. The first order of the Com- 
mandant had dispelled any idea that may have been 
entertained that the military duty of the cadet was to 
be a farce. That order is here inserted: 

"Virginia Military Institute^ 

"Lexington, Va., November 11, 1839. 

"Orders — No. 1. 

"I. Maj. Francis H. Smith assumes command of the Virginia 
Military Institute. All reports, permits, etc., will be made to him 
during the morning office hours. 

"II. The present guard will consist of one sergeant, one 
corporal, and three privates, and one sentinel will be habitually 
posted at the main gate. 

"III. The following temporary appointments are made: 

"Cadet W. D. Fair, to be Adjutant of Corps of Cadets. 

"Cadet H. B. Sumpter, to be First Sergeant. 

"Cadet J. H. Jameson, to be Second Sergeant. 

"Cadet L. A. Garnett, to be Third Sergeant. 

"Cadet J. H. Lawrence, to be Fourth Sergeant. 

"Cadet C. E. Carter, to be First Corporal. 

"Cadet W. S. Beale, to be Second Corporal. 

"Cadet T. J. B. Cramer, to be Third Corporal. 

"Cadet J. W. Jones, to be Fourth Corporal. 

"Cadet V. C. Saunders, to be Fifth Corporal. 

"IV. The exercises of the Institute will commence on Monday 
next, by which time cadets will apply to Mr. Hugh Barclay for one 
copy each of the following text-books : 

"Davies Bourdon's Algebra, 

"Levizac's French Grammar. 

"By Order, 

"Francis H. Smith, 

"Major Commanding." 

The first Guard-Book is still on file at the Institute. 
It might be easily taken for the one of yesterday. 

The organization of the Corps included, besides the 
Commandant and the cadets, the negro musicians, 
Reuben Howard and Mike, drummer and fif er formerly 
attached to the Arsenal Guard. 

The Virginia Military Institute 49 

During the cold winter of 1839-40, in which many- 
hardships were encountered by the Commandant and 
the cadets, two new members were appointed to the 
Board of Visitors. These were Adjutant-General Wil- 
liam H. Richardson, vice Peyton, and General William 
Ligon, a veteran of the War of 1812, vice Wiley. 

The Board met in Lexington in June to conduct the 
annual examinations and to inspect the Corps of Cadets. 
Colonel Crozet conducted the academic examination 
with the skill for which he was noted, and the diminutive 
Corps was reviewed by the Board. So satisfactory 
were the results of the first year's work found to be that 
from that day the Institute bore the title of "West Point 
of the South," and its fame rapidly spread abroad. The 
title did not originate, as is thought by some, at the time 
of the War between the States, when so many graduates 
and Sieves of the Institute entered the military service. 

In Jime, 1840, the Corps was more than doubled in 
size, and the number of applicants for admission as Pay 
Cadets largely exceeded the number which the Institute 
could accommodate. It now became necessary to re- 
vise the original Regulations and it was at this time that 
the General Assembly authorized the granting of com- 
missions in the Volimteers of the Commonwealth to the 
professorial staff of the Institute, according to the 
grade fixed by the Board of Visitors. The Principal 
Professor now became Superintendent, with rank of 
colonel; the only other professor, John T. L. Preston, 
who had so earnestly advocated the establishment of the 
School, was dignified with the title of Major. 

The need of an additional professor now became a 
pressing one, and the name of Thomas Hoomes 
WilUamson, Esq., of Norfolk, was suggested to the 
Board by the Superintendent. Mr. Williamson was a 
former classmate of Colonel Smith's at the Academy, 
but failed in Languages his third year. He was a good 
soldier, however, and well equipped by training to teach 
Tactics and Drawing. Accordingly, July 19, 1841, he 
was appointed Professor of Tactics and Drawing, and 

50 The Military History of 

assigned to duty as Commandant of Cadets, with rank 
of captain, being the second Commandant of the 

In WilHam H. Richardson, the new Adjutant-Gen- 
eral, the Institute found a warm friend and ardent sup- 
porter. From 1841 to 1865, and from 1866 to 1876, he 
was Adjutant-General of Virginia, and, as an ex-officio 
member of the Board, his services were conspicuously 
valuable to the School. In every way possible he 
furthered its interests; and his dying request was that 
no monument but a simple stone be placed over his 
grave with the inscription : 

"Placed here by the Graduates of the Virginia Mili- 
tary Institute." 

Since this request was made it has been fulfilled, for 
in 1875 the Rev. Charles D. Walker, V. M. I., '69, 
inscribed in his memorial volume containing the bio- 
graphical sketches of the graduates and eleves of the 
Institute who fell in the War between the States the 
following words: "To General William H. Richard- 
son, Adjutant- General of the State of Virginia, and 
the life-long friend of the V. M. I., this record of 
those of his boys who died for the cause is affectionately 
dedicated." The record of those valiant youths is 
indeed a noble memorial. 

As evidence of his faith in the School, he entered his 
son as a cadet in the fall of 1840, and William H. Rich- 
ardson, Jr., became an Assistant Professor and the first 
Adjutant of the Virginia Military Institute, after 
graduating with the Class of 1844.* 

It was through the influence of General Richardson 
that the Corps of Cadets was ordered to Richmond in 
January, 1842, to be examined and inspected by the 

♦William H. Richardson was born in Richmond City on Dec. 18, 1795 the 
son of Major George Richardson, a Revolutionary officer. He served in' the 
War of 1812 as lieutenant in Captain Edmund Taylor's rifle regiment with 
commission dated on May 31, 1813. He became captain of the company in 1815 
In 1821 he was appointed clerk of the Executive Council, which office he held 
until the Council was abolished in 1852 by the new constitution. Richardson 
then became Secretary of the Commonwealth for about a year. After the 
resignation of Adjutant-General Bernard Peyton he was appointed to the office 
and remained in it until his death on September 1, 1876. In addition to his 
clerical and military services he organized the Agricultural and Horticultural 
Society of Virginia, in 1844, and was its president for several years. 

The Virginia Military Institute 51 

General Assembly. As a friend and admirer of the 
Institute, he believed a more intimate knowledge of the 
work of the School, on the part of the members of the 
Assembly, would produce the most favorable results; 
and in this he was not mistaken. 

The appearance of the Corps in Richmond created a 
profound impression in the minds of the people of the 
State. The great body of legislators had followed the 
proceedings of the more enthusiastic adherents of the 
Military Institute in a listless way, voting for the 
various measures proposed in connection with its 
organization, not because of any especial interest in the 
undertaking, but because they had no suificient reasons 
to oppose the importunities of the few enthusiasts. 
The people of the State at large knew little of the 
School, and few, even in Richmond, conceived the real 
character of the infant institution. And, so, when the 
superb body of 60 cadets paraded the streets of the 
capital city, the popular imagination was aroused and 
great crowds followed the splendidly-drilled Corps, 
from place to place. , 

The cadets were examined before the House of Dele- 
gates in the various subjects of their curriculum by 
three Cadet Instructors who not only demonstrated the 
proficiency of the academic instruction of the entire 
Corps, but their own high efficiency as trained teachers. 
The Legislature was immensely pleased and a public 
collation was tendered the cadets by the people of Rich- 
mond. On this occasion, a stand of colors was pre- 
sented the httle Battalion by the veteran soldier. Gen. 
William Ligon, — a beautiful flag bearing the inscrip- 
tion, "Virginia Military Institute." When, during the 
ceremony of presentation, the "Flag of the V. M. I." 
was toasted, the Color- Sergeant, Cadet William S. 
Beale,* sprang upon a table, and, as he grasped the 
colors with his right hand, responded: 

"Let him bear it who is able to defend it." 

♦This noble young man, a nephew of General William Steenbergen, a short 
while after his graduation, was drowned in the Ohio River in a heroic efEort 
to save the life of a negro boatman, after he had rescued from drowning his 
cousin to whom he was engaged to be married. 

52 The Military History of 

Such was the spirit in which the V. M. I. cadet first 
received the colors he was to hear, and such has been 
that which for more than three quarters of a century 
has been inculcated in a host of American youths. With 
their flag they have been taught to associate the ideals 
of their race ; and so, their flag is not only their colors, 
but the standard of their virtue. 

The fruits of General Richardson's scheme were now 
to be gathered, for the pride of the General Assembly, 
and of the people, had been touched by their yoimg 
soldiers. Accordingly, by Act of March 8, 1842, the 
General Assembly increased the annuity of the Insti- 
tute by $1,500, requiring in return that all State Cadet 
graduates should discharge their obligation to the Com- 
monwealth by teaching in some school in the State for 
a period of two years after graduation, on such pay as 
they might be able to contract for. Thus, the Institute 
became, not only the second governmental mihtary 
school in Anaerica, but the first Normal School in Vir- 
ginia ;* and to the subsequent labors of its graduates was 
undoubtedly due the fact that between 1845 and 1860 
the number of College students in Virginia increased 
from 500 to 2,500, "giving Virginia the proud pre- 
eminence of having a larger number of young men at- 
tending colleges, in proportion to white population, 
than any other State in the Union." 

The first class to enter the Institute was graduated 
July 4, 1842. The high character of their education is 
well attested by the careers of the sixteen cadets who re- 
ceived diplomas on that day. Let us enumerate them 
in order of their graduation. 

1. William D. Fair, Virginia, Lawyer; member of first Senate 
of California; died December 27, 1861. 

2. William H. Henderson, Virginia, Lawyer; died 1860. 

3. John B. Strange, Virginia, Principal Norfolk Academy; 
Colonel 19th Virginia Infantry, C. S. A.; killed in battle. 

4. T. J. B. Cramer, Virginia, Teacher; elected Treasurer of 
Kansas; one of incorporators of City of Denver, which he helped 
to lay out. 

•The University of Virginia was impressed wltli a similar character bv 
Act of March 12, 1856. 

The Virginia Military Institute 53 

5. Edmund Pendleton, Virginia, Lawyer; Colonel Louisiana 
Infantry, wounded; member Virginia Senate; member Board of 
Visitors V. M. I. 

6. J. H. Lawrence, Virginia, Dentist; Adjutant Ga. Infantry. 

7. W. M. Elliott, Virginia, Lt.-Col. C. S. A.; Editor Rich- 
mond Whig; member Virginia House of Delegates and State 
Senate; member Board of Visitors V. M. I.; Rector University of 

8. J. H. Jameson, Virginia, Lawyer; Captain Virginia 
Infantry, C. S. A. ; died of wounds. 

9. C. P. Deyerle, Virginia, Assistant Surgeon U. S. Army; 
and served in the Mexican War; died 1853, in the line of duty. 

10. John T. Smith, Virginia, Farmer; Officer C. S. A. 

11. William A. Forbes, Virginia; President Clarksville Col- 
lege, Term.; Colonel 14th Tenn. Infantry; killed Second Manassas. 

12. V. C. Saunders, Virginia; Principal Baton Rouge Military 
Institute, and noted scholar. 

13. J. W. Bell, Virginia, Farmer; Captain C. S. A. 

14. O. M. Knight,* Virginia, Physician and Planter; Captain 
Virginia Cavalry, C. S. A. 

15. James Marshall, Virginia, Farmer; Captain Virginia 
Cavalry, C. S. A. 

16. Louis A. Garnett, Virginia, Lawyer in California; President 
Assaying and Refining Co.; leading currency expert in U. S. 

In the life work of these men was reflected the genius 
of Crozet, of Smith, and of the School they had 
founded. The influence of the Institute as a School of 
Arms and the character of its training as such in the 
first three years of its existence, could not be more 
strikingly demonstrated than by the foregoing enum- 
eration. In 1861, the majority of the members of the 
Class of 1842 were over forty years of age. Two had 
died — one in the old army, and three had removed to 
the far West — of the remaining eleven members ten 
entered the military service of the Confederacy, and 
three were killed in battle ! 

When the Institute was established the Legislature 
provided for an arrangement between it and Washing- 
ton College whereby the students of the latter might 
receive mihtary instruction, in order that the College 
might avail itself of an endowment of the Virginia 

♦still llTing (1914). 

54 The Militaey History of 

Society of the Cincinnati, in the sum of $15,000. This 
endowment was dependent on the estabhshment by the 
College of a chair of Military Science and Gunnery. 
As soon, therefore, as the Institute was put in opera- 
tion, Major Smith was appointed Cincinnati Professor 
of Military Science in the College, and a squad of stu- 
dents was formed as the "Cincinnati Class," and 
regularly drilled with the cadets, wearing practically 
the same uniform as the latter. In return for the ser- 
vice thus rendered by the Institute, cadets were privi- 
leged to pursue the course of Chemistry at the 
College. The arrangement was not an advantageous 
one to the Institute for many reasons, among others 
that the College students were not subject to discipline. 
Their disorders frequently brought discredit upon the 
Institute, for they were not distinguishable from cadets 
by reason of the similarity of uniforms. Fortunately, 
the relationship was terminated by the College, Febru- 
ary 22, 1845; but Washington College, now Washing- 
ton and Lee University, continues to receive the bene- 
faction of the great patriotic society; and the 
remarkable anomaly exists of one institution in Lexing- 
ton obtaining an annuity for instruction it does not give, 
while the Military School of the State with its highly 
developed course of military science and practical in- 
struction, situated in the same town, receives nothing 
from the Cincinnati endowment.* 

Upon the severance of the relations of the two Insti- 
tutions of learning in Lexington, it became necessary 
to place instruction in the Physical Sciences at the 
Institute upon a higher plane , and an addition of 
$7,000.00 to the annuity by the Legislature enabled the 
Board to create a new and distinct department in 

To fill the chair thus created was a difficult matter, 
for it was comtemplated that the new professor should 
also perform the duties of Commandant of Cadets and 

*At Its animal meeting in September, 1913, the Virginia Society of the 
Cincinnati voted an annual allowance to the Institute as a scholarship aggre- 
gating several hundred dollars and also a gold medal for the cadet of highest 
general merit. 

The Virginia Military Institute 55 

Instructor of Tactics, relieving the overburdened 
Captain Williamson of his military duties. The new 
professor must, therefore, be a soldier and the greater 
his experience as such, the better. 

In the selection of the new professor and com- 
mandant, the West Point influence again made itself 

Proud of the Institute, Colonel Smith had frequently- 
invited his distinguished friends at the United States 
Military Academy to visit him in Lexington, and wit- 
ness the results of his work. Among others who at- 
tended the graduating exercises and examinations were 
Professors Bartlett, Church, and Mahan of West 
Point. And, so, when the Superintendent made known 
his wants to these illustrious teachers, it was natural 
that Professor Bartlett should recommend the appoint- 
ment of his brilhant and talented young assistant in 
the department of Natural Philosophy at the Academy, 
William Gilham. 

Wilham Gilham was born in Indiana and was ap- 
pointed a cadet at West Point July 1, 1836, graduating 
with distinction with the Class of 1840. Assigned to 
the Third Artillery with the rank of second lieutenant, 
he received his promotion October 23, 1841, and as a 
first lieutenant participated under General Zachary 
Taylor in the Mexican War. In the battles of Palo 
Alto and Resaca he was distinguished for gallantry. 
Before the declaration of peace, the young officer was 
ordered back to the Academy, as assistant to Professor 
Bartlett, and had served as such with notable success, 
when he was tendered the appointment as Commandant 
of Cadets, Instructor of Tactics, and Professor of 
Natural and Experimental Philosophy and Chemistry, 
with rank of major. 

Lieutenant Gilham at once accepted the appoint- 
ment tendered him, and resigned his commission in the 
army, October 17, 1846. "Quick, accurate, and self- 
possessed, he had a magnetic power of command which 
made the drill of the Corps the equal, if not the superior, 
of that at West Point. In command of the Battalion 

56 The Military History of 

of Cadets, Major Gilham had no superior." Such was 
the estimate of the Superintendent. 

In addition to his military service at the Institute, 
Major Gilham organized and conducted the first course 
in Scientific Agriculture and Industrial Chemistry in 
the South. But to his greatest work we shall refer 

Another distinguished soldier was now associated 
with the Institute as a member of the Board of Visitors 
in the person of Philip St. George Cocke, who was 
graduated from West Point in 1832, but resigned his 
commission as Second Lieutenant, Second Artillery, 
April 1, 1834. He was a man of unusual wealth and 
of great social and political influence, and hence, was a 
distinct acquisition to the Institute when appointed to 
the Board of Visitors in 1846.* 

Other recent appointments of military note to the 
Board were those of Captain Charles Dimmock, U. S. 
M. A., 1821, who resigned his commission as a captain 
in the First Artillery, September 30, 1836,** and Gen- 
eral Carter Braxton. Thus we see that as time went by 
the necessity of maintaining a preponderant military 
influence in the Board was not lost sight of. With 
Crozet, Cocke, and Dimmock, on the Board, and Smith, 
Williamson, and Gilham in the faculty, all from West 
Point, the influence which the national Academy bore 
in the affairs of the Institute can hardly be ex- 
aggerated. When we consider, with these, the other 
soldiers on the Board, a highly military character in the 
governing body seems to have been jealously preserved 
as its essential feature. 

The continued enlargement of the Corps, and the 
splendid work of the Institute, led to the appropriation 
by the General Assembly, March 8, 1850, of $46,000, 
for the erection of a suitable barracks. For this ma- 
terial recognition of the Institute, its thanks were 
largely due General Richardson and Cocke, who were 

♦Appointed Brigadier-General C. S. A., October 21, 1861. 

**Captain Dimmock was born in Massaclmsetts, but was appointed Colonel 
C. S. A. and Chief of Ordnance of Virginia, In 1861, a position for which 
George H. Thomas, later Major-General, U. S. Army, applied in January, 1861, 

The Virginia Military Institute 57 

equally enthusiastic with Colonel Crozet in their support 
of the School, Up to this time, said Cocke, "his negroes 
were better quartered than the cadets." 

To further the interest of the School by again attract- 
ing the attention of the Legislature, and by appealing to 
its pride in the School, thus insuring the passage of the 
Act appropriating the needed funds. General Richard- 
son had again caused the Corps in February to be 
ordered to Richmond to attend the ceremonies con- 
nected with the laying of the corner-stone of the Wash- 
ington monument. He well knew that nothing would 
so appeal to the people of the State, and especially to 
the legislators, as the visible results being produced at 

The Corps now had a battalion organization of two 
companies, and, under Major Gilham's efficient com- 
mand, had attained a remarkable degree of military 
proficiency. Its drill was superb ; its equipment modern 
and complete in every respect ; and the personnel of its 
officers and cadets was of the highest social order. Num- 
bered among its one hundred cadets were the scions of 
many of Virginia's most distinguished famiUes, and the 
prominent positions in the affairs of the State which 
its graduates, — ^numbering over one hundred at this 
time, — ^had assumed, added lustre and influence to the 
Institute. Well might its unparalleled rise in popu- 
larity throughout the State arouse the jealous attention 
of its sister institutions. And this is exactly what hap- 
pened ; for already its progress was beset with the open 
hostihty of the friends of Washington College, hostility 
which in its imreasonableness only attracted a higher 
regard to the object of its unjust attacks. 

General Zachary Taylor, then President of the 
United States, was invited to attend the ceremonies in 
Richmond on February 22, 1850, the one hundred and 
eighteenth anniversary of the birth of Washington. 
He accepted the invitation, and, at once. Governor 
John B. Floyd of Virginia, former Secretary of War 
of the United States, and only recently become a 

58 The Militaey History of 

member of the Board of Visitors of the Institute, 
tendered the services of the Corps of Cadets as his body- 
guard, an offer which the President accepted with 

The work of designing and casting the bronze figures 
of the Washington Monument had been assigned to the 
great American Sculptor, Thomas Crawford, and his 
models had been favorably received. The corner-stone 
of what has been styled the finest monument of its kind 
in America, the total cost of which was $260,000, was 
laid with imposing ceremonies, and most of the mihtary 
organizations of the State, as well as troops from else- 
where, participated therein. But none of these com- 
pared with the Cadet Corps, which won the unstinted 
plaudits of the assembled populace, and the highest 
praise from the dignitaries and military men of the 
State and nation who were present on the interesting 

The Alumni were overjoyed at the way the Corps 
was received, and, to express their own pride, presented 
through James B. Dorman, Esq., a member of the 
House of Delegates, and a private of the Class of 1843, 
the second stand of Battalion colors. Cadet Charles 
Denby, who was graduated with the Class of 1850, and 
who became Minister to China in 1885, received the 
flag for the Corps, that function being his prerogative 
as senior cadet-officer.* 

For many years the Corps of Cadets bore these colors. 
In the battle of New Market they created much con- 
fusion in the minds of the Federals, who were un- 
familiar with the white flag. Indeed, it has been re- 
corded by one Federal ofiicer that the perfectly drilled 
Battalion of Cadets, bearing a strange white flag, and 
maneuvering with unusual precision, led many of his 
comrades at first to believe the Corps was some foreign 

An especial effort has been made by the author to 
secure a detailed description of these colors which 

*Denby became a colonel in the Federal Army during the war, served with 
distinction, and sent his son to the Institute. The latter graduated in 1899. 

The Virginia Military Institute 59 

would prove generally acceptable to those who followed 
them, but it is difficult to obtain universal agreement. 
Unfortunately the original flag was removed from its 
staff while the cadets were evacuating Lexington in 
June, 1864, and after being much torn by cadets wish- 
ing to preserve a relic of their battle flag, was hidden 
in a hedge in the yard of the house formerly occupied 
by "Stonewall" Jackson on the campus of Washington 
College. Upon the return of the Corps of Cadets to 
the Institute after Hunter's raid, no trace of the 
tattered flag remained. The only piece of it known to 
exist was presented to the Institute in June, 1914, by 
a grandson of General Francis H. Smith, and is now 
jealously guarded in the hbrary museum. 

The best description of the flag I have been able 
to obtain is that of Captain B. A. Colonna. "The 
staff was about 9 or 10 feet long, made of fine-grained 
ash and surmounted by a brass eagle. The flag was 
made of white corded silk, and had a gold fringe on 
the outer end and top and bottom. The right field was 
emblazoned with the State coat of arms of the usual 
size, and below it, appeared the motto — Sic Semper 
Tyrannis. The left field was emblazoned with the head 
of General Washington above a U. S. shield, behind 
which were crossed two U. S. flags at a fairly flat 
angle. Below the flags, were crossed cannon, muskets, 
etc., and under them appeared cannon balls. The shield 
was surmounted by an eagle clutching arrows in one 
claw, and an olive branch in the other." 

Captain Colonna omits all reference to the name — 
Virginia Mihtary Institute — which many old cadets 
claim appeared below the head of Washington. 

In 1909, at the inauguration of President Taft in 
Washington, the New York Alumni Chapter presented 
to the Corps of Cadets, through Major-General J. 
Franklin Bell, Chief of Staff, U. S. Army, a stand 
of colors purporting to be a replica of the old cadet 
colors, but the designer of the new flag, John S. Wise, 
father of the author, repeatedly stated that he was un- 

60 The Military History of 

able to recall in detail the original except that it was 
white and displayed the head of Washington. The new 
flag was not really intended by him to be a replica, but 
was designed for the principal purpose of preserving 
the characteristic features of the old one, which were 
the white field and the head of Washington — emblem- 
atic in themselves and appropriate as a souvenir of 
the occasion, on which the colors were first presented 
to the Corps of Cadets, or the anniversary of the birth 
of the great and pure "Father of His Country." 

The people of Richmond generally, as well as the 
Alumni and patrons of the Institute, extended every 
hospitality to the Cadets, while in Richmond, in Febru- 
ary, 1850. Not only was the Corps toasted and enter- 
tained as a military organization, but invitations of all 
kinds were showered upon the ofiicers and cadets indi- 
vidually, and the authorities were importuned to order 
the Corps to Norfolk and Petersburg, as the guest of 
those cities. So pressing were these invitations that 
the Superintendent and the Board of Visitors consented 
without reluctance to their acceptance, upon being per- 
suaded by the Adjutant- General, and Mr. Cocke, now 
President of the Board, of the value of the proposed ex- 
cursion as an advertisement. 

In both Norfolk and Petersburg the Corps received 
the most gratifying ovations, and by reason of the 
soldierly conduct of the cadets, the popularity of the 
Institute was greatly enhanced. Such was the wise 
means adopted by the Board to insure the successful 
issue of the pending appropriations, which followed al- 
most instantly. 

Not alone were the people of Virginia well pleased 
with the Corps. President Taylor was so delighted with 
Major Gilham's command, which had served as his es- 
cort of honor, that in token of his gratitude to the Insti- 
tute, and the high esteem in which he held the Corps, 
he ordered the United States Ordnance Department to 
turn out a six-piece battery of field artillery complete, 
with four 6-pounder guns and two 12-pounder howitzers. 

The Virginia Military Institute 61 

The pieces he directed to be cast 200 pounds lighter than 
those regularly employed, each bearing on the chase 
the coat of arms of Virginia. 

The battery was soon completed and delivered in 
Lexington, and the Board of Visitors at once began to 
seriously consider the matter of instruction in Gunnery 
and practical artillery drill, which President Taylor's 
superb gift was designed to bring about. 

This of course dehghted the Superintendent and the 
Commandant, both of whom had served in the Field 
Artillery; and Philip St. George Cocke, a former 
artilleryman himself, was no mean supporter of the 
plan to enlarge the scope of military instruction. Gen- 
eral Richardson, as usual, stood by the guns; and, ar- 
rayed with those in favor of the plan, were General 
Corbin Braxton, General Peter H. Steenbergen, Gen- 
eral E. P. Scott, and General Douglas B. Layne, all 
recent appointees to the Board of Visitors. Even had 
they opposed the measure, the five civilian members — 
Chas. J. Faulkner, Wilham W. Crvimp, Harvey 
George,. John S. Carlisle, Esquires, and Dr. C. E. 
Robinson — would have been overruled by the military 
sentiment of the Board.* 

As a School of Arms the Virginia Military Institute 
has been fortvmate in that from the days of its infancy, 
it has been able to cherish with pride traditions at- 
taching to the names of its Sieves. Noble traditions 
make gallant soldiers. Unfortunate indeed is the race, 
the state, or the military organization without the in- 
spiration of tradition. The founders of Virginia's 
School of Arms had but a brief time to wait ere they 
could point to the achievements of its sons, upon the 
red fields of war in the service of their country, for 
among those who rushed to arms in May, 1846, were 
twenty-five eleves of the Institute. Of this number 
nine served in the regular army and sixteen in the 

•Between 1845 and 1850 General Carter Braxton, Col. John Jordan, and 
John B. Floyd, were, besides those mentioned, notable appointees to the Board 
of Visitors. Colonel Crozet had relinquished his office In 1844, upon removing 
to Louisiana, and Generals Botts, Johnston, Ligon, Dorman, and Captain 
Dimmocis, had been superseded. 

62 The Military History of 

Volunteers. The following is the roll of those who 
fought in the Mexican War: 

1. Brevet Major Arthur Campbell Cummings, 11th U. S. 
Infantry, wounded at Paso Orejas. 

2. Brevet Captain Daniel Smith Lee, 11th U. S. Infantry. 

3. Brevet Captain Hamilton LeEoy Shields, 3rd U. S. 

4. First Lieutenant Birkett Davenport Fry, U. S. Voltigeurs. 

5. Second Lieutenant Richard Carlton Radford, 1st U. S. 

6. Second Lieutenant Andrew Jackson, 3d U. S. Infantry. 

7. Second Lieutenant Isaac Williams Smith, U. S. Voltigeurs. 

8. Second Lieutenant James Edwin Slaughter, U. S. 

9. Surgeon Charles Peter Deyerle. 

10. Captain Edward Codrington Carrington, 1st Va. Reg. 

11. First Lieutenant George Alexander Porterfield, 1st Va. 

12. First Lieutenant William Arthur Scott, 1st Va. Reg. 

13. First Lieutenant James Lawrenson Bryant, 1st Va. Reg. 

14. First Lieutenant Thomas Stuart Garnett, 1st Va. Reg. 

15. Second Lieutenant Carlton Radford Munford, 1st Va. Reg.; 
died in service. 

16. Second Lieutenant Robert Henry Keeling, 1st Va. Reg. 

17. Second Lieutenant Harry Watson Williamson, 1st Va. Reg. 

18. Second Lieutenant Beverley T. Hunter, Louisiana Volti- 

19. Second Lieutenant Alexander Cassius Layne, 1st Va. Reg. 

20. Sergeant Major James Baldwin Dorman, Texas Rangers. 

21. Corporal Benjamin Franklin Ficklin, U. S. Army. 

22. Private Anthony Webster Southall, 1st Va. Reg.; died of 
results of service. 

23. Private Charles Everett Carter, Palmetto Regiment, S. C. ; 
died in service. 

24. Private Reuben G. Ross, 1st Va. Reg. 

25. Private Alexander McNutt McCorkle, U. S. Army; died in 

Considering the fact that the School had been in ex- 
istence but little over six years, and had graduated but 
four classes when the war with Mexico broke out, the 
record it established in that war was indeed one to be 
proud of. It indicated clearly at the time what the 
country might expect in future years. 

The Virginia Military Institute 63 



The successful visits of the Corps to the three largest 
cities of the State added greatly to the prestige of the 
Institute, and its numbers might have been greatly in- 
creased had suitable quarters been available. But work 
on the new barracks had already begun, and the phy- 
sical development of the School was being pushed with 
energy, in order that the increasing number of appli- 
cants might be accepted. More than ever was the mili- 
tary character of the School appreciated, and the eflPorts 
of the governing authorities directed to the perfection 
of its military instruction. 

In 1850, sectional war was by no means seriously con- 
templated by the people of America at large. States- 
men and students of politics may have foreseen the 
inevitable struggle; but men in the ordinary walks of 
life, while bitterly hostile in their feelings to what they 
deemed aggressions on the part of the North, thought 
little of the impending conflict. It is a notable fact, 
therefore, that Judge John W. Brockenbrough, in his 
speech on July 4, 1850, upon which day the corner- 
stone of the new barracks was laid, eleven years before 
Virginia seceded, pointed out the dark cloud which low- 
ered in the North; and it was a no less singular coin- 
cidence that the foundation of that great structure, 
destined to shelter so many gallant Confederate officers, 
should have been laid under the presage of the con- 
flict in which they were so soon to be engaged. 

The Board of Visitors was composed of that class of 
men who busied themselves with the future of the 
State. They foresaw the inevitable; and, as the Insti- 
tute was the School of Arms of Virginia, so was it the 
seat of military preparedness. To relieve Major Gil- 
ham of much of his professional work, thus leaving him 

64 The Military History of 

freer for his military duties, and also to provide an 
instructor of Artillery, the Board now determined to 
look about for one possessing the requisites for the 

It was unanimously agreed that the appointee should 
be a West Pointer; and, in order to seek the advice of 
the Superintendent and the professors of the Academy, 
Colonel Smith repaired to West Point, and then visited 
the War Department in Washington. 

The result of Colonel Smith's investigations was that 
many names were suggested for his consideration; 
among the more prominent being those of George 
Brinton McClellan, of Pennsylvania, Second Lieu- 
tenant of Engineers; Jesse Lee Reno, of Virginia, 
Second Lieutenant of Ordnance; and William Starke 
Rosecrans, of Ohio, Second Lieutenant of Engineers. 

These names are significant, for it will be observed 
they were those of officers of the branches of the ser- 
vice characterized by the high intellectual qualities of 
their officers. The authorities at West Point and the 
War Department well knew the character of man of 
whom the Institute was in need ; and the fact that they 
proposed the names of McClellan, Reno and Rosecrans, 
is indicative of their regard for the Institute. 

McClellan was at that time only twenty-five years of 
age, but he was a graduate of the Academy, Class of 
1846, and, like GiUiam, a veteran of the Mexican War 
in which he was brevetted first lieutenant of Engineers 
for gallant and meritorious conduct at Contreras and 
Churubusco, and captain for equally conspicuous con- 
duct at Chapultepec. At the close of the war he had 
been ordered back to West Point in command of the 
Engineer company stationed there, and assigned to 
duty as assistant instructor of Practical Engineering. 
While at the Academy, he had prepared a Manual of 
Bayonet Exercises, which he adapted from the French, 
and which was immediately introduced into the system 
of instruction. Thus McClellan, even in 1850, was a 
marked man. The next year he was designated to sup- 



The Vieginia Military Institute 65 

erintend the construction of Fort Delaware; and in 1852 
he accompanied Captain R. B. Marcy on the Red River 
exploring expedition. In 1853 and 1854, he was en- 
gaged in exploring a route for the proposed Pacific 
Railroad through Washington Territory and Oregon; 
and in the spring of 1855 he was appointed to a military 
commission created to visit Europe for the purpose of 
studying the organization of the Continental Armies. 
This commission, the other members of which were 
Major Richard Delafield and Major Alfred Mordecai, 
both of the Engineers, proceeded at once to Europe, 
and soon repaired to the Crimea where they were most 
hospitably received by General Simpson, commander 
of the British forces, and accorded by him every op- 
portunity to witness the siege operations of Sebastapol. 
McClellan's report on the arms, equipments, and 
organization of "the three arms" was, wrote a dis- 
tinguished soldier, "a model of conciseness and accurate 
information, and added to his already brilliant 

As is weU known, McClellan became, in 1861, a Ma- 
jor-General of United States Volimteers, and after 
McDowell's disastrous defeat at First Manassas in 
July, was placed in command of the army defending 
Washington; relieved after the failure of the Peninsula 
campaign of 1862; recalled to his exalted command 
after Pope's overthrow at Second Manassas; and at 
Antietam shattered the Army of Northern Virginia, 
compelling General Lee to forego the invasion of the 
North and return with his army to Virginia. What- 
ever may have been his defects and weaknesses as a 
tactical commander, he was, imdoubtedly, the ablest 
organizer the Federal Army produced. The fighting 
machine he created out of nothing in the summer and 
fall of 1861 (or the Army of the Potomac) was by 
far the finest army the Federal Government sent afield, 
and growing stronger and stronger under repeated dis- 
asters, well calculated to destroy any army, was destined 
on many occasions to save the Republic, and ultimately 

66 The Military History of . 

to vanquish the Southern arms. It was the brilliant 
genius of McClellan which made possible the victories of 
Grant; and it was McClellan, himself, who, on at least 
two occasions, denied the Confederate States of 
America success. These facts are mentioned in con- 
nection with our narrative because it is a matter of im- 
portant conjecture what might have been the course of 
history had the young soldier, always partial to the 
sentiments of the South, been appointed a professor in 
1851 at the Virginia Military Institute, and thereby 
thrown into closer relations with the Southern people. 
As it was, his candidacy for the presidency of the 
United States held prospects of an adjustment between 
the North and the South favorable to the latter. 

Lieutenant Reno, U. S. M. A. 1846, was also bre- 
vetted, first as a first lieutenant for conspicuous con- 
duct at Cerro Gordo, and then as captain for gallant 
and meritorious conduct at Chapultepec. While his 
reputation was not as great as that of McClellan, he 
was recognized as one of the most superior young 
officers in the service. In 1861 he became Brigadier- 
General of United States Volunteers; in 1862 Major- 
General; and was killed at South Mountain, Md., soon 
after this promotion. 

William Starke Rosecrans was graduated from the 
Academy in 1842. He also was a young officer of the 
highest character, and a veteran of the Mexican War. 
Resigning from the army in 1854, he re-entered the 
service at the outbreak of the war, and rose to the grade 
of Major- General U. S. Volunteers in 1862. His mili- 
tary service during the war won for him the thanks of 

There were others besides McClellan, Reno, and 
Rosecrans, prominently mentioned to the Board of 
Visitors of the Institute; among whom may be men- 
tioned Gustavus W. Smith, of Kentucky, who became 
a major-general, C. S. A., in 1861, and won fame as a 
soldier in the service of the Confederacy. The selection 
of any one of these eminently qualified men would have 

The Virginia Military Institute 67 

been justified by their distinguished records. The im- 
portant professorship at the Institute, however, was 
offered to none of them, but finally to a classmate of 
McClellan and Reno; and it came about in this way. 

In February, 1849, First Lieutenant and Brevet 
Major Daniel Harvey Hill, U. S. Artillery, of South 
CaroHna, afterwards the celebrated Lieutenant-Gen- 
eral D. H. Hill of the Confederacy, resigned his com- 
mission in the army to accept a chair at Washington 
College, Lexington. Major Hill, twice brevetted for 
conspicuous gallantry in the battles of Contreras, 
Churubusco, and Chapultepec, was a graduate of the 
United States Mihtary Academy, of the Class of 1842, 
and was well acquainted with McClellan, Reno, and 

It so happened that soon after Colonel Smith's re- 
turn from his visit to West Point and the War De- 
partment, Major Hill called upon the Superintendent 
of the Institute and found him much perplexed and 
annoyed in consequence of a difference which had 
recently arisen between himself and the Board of 
Visitors over the appointment of the new professor. In 
Colonel Smith's absence politics had entered into the 
matter, and strong pressure was being exerted upon the 
Board for the appointment of Captain Robert Emmet 
Rodes, of Lynchburg, a graduate of the Institute of 
the Class of 1838, then serving as an Assistant Pro- 
fessor at the Institute. Rodes had many influential 
friends, and was a man of exceptional abihty, as proven 
by his subsequent career as Major-General, C. S. A. 
Colonel Smith recognized his merit, but was firm in 
his determination to secure a West Pointer, and in this 
he was supported by Phihp St, George Cocke, President 
of the Board, himself a graduate of the Academy. West 
Pointers in those days, as now, were wont to consider 
the Academy as the source of all military knowledge; 
and this evident spirit was resented by the Board at 
large ; and as a result much ill-feeling arose between the 
two factions. Cocke and Smith, however, carried their 

68 The Military History or 

point and the chair was tendered Professor Alexander 
Peter Stewart, of Cumberland University, Tennessee. 
Stewart was a Tennesseean, who had graduated from 
West Point in 1842, served three years in the Third 
Artillery, and resigned his commission as second lieu- 
tenant May 31, 1845. Well satisfied with his present 
position, he declined the offer. He subsequently rose 
to the grade of lieutenant-general, C. S. A., and was 
among the most celebrated officers of the Confederacy. 

Again, the appointment of Rodes was being urged, 
when Colonel Smith introduced the subject in con- 
versation with Major Hill, and handed him an Army 
Register, with the request that he suggest the name of 
a suitable officer. As Major Hill glanced over the hst 
his eye, as if by providence, fell upon the name of 
Jackson. With this yoimg officer Hill had had an ac- 
quaintance in Mexico, the circumstances of which are 

When General Scott withdrew from General Taylor 
the greater portion of the regular troops for the invasion 
of Mexico by the Vera Cruz line, they were ordered to 
Camargo, where they were embarked for Point Isobel 
at the mouth of the Rio Grande, and held there until 
the arrival of transports to convey them to Vera Cruz. 

A young second lieutenant of artillery who had served 
under General Taylor, and was waiting for his regi- 
ment on the beach at Point Isobel, strolled over to 
see Captain Taylor of the Artillery. While in con- 
versation with Hill, Captain Taylor saw his visitor ap- 
proaching, and said: "Here comes Lieutenant Jackson. 
I want you to know him. He was constantly rising in 
the class at West Point, and if the course had been a 
year longer he would have graduated at the head of his 
class. He will make his mark in this war." 

Hill and Jackson were thereupon introduced, and 
soon strolled off together along the beach. While ad- 
miring the grandeur of the ocean, yovmg Jackson said 
to Hill, "I envy you men who have been in battle. 
How I would like to be in one battle!" and then ex- 

The Virginia Military Institute 69 

pressed the fear that the war might terminate before 
his longing would be gratified. "Little did he then 
know how many scores of battles he would direct, and 
how breathlessly the two divided sections of the nation 
would watch his terrible movements!" 

The two young ofl&cers parted to meet under the walls 
of Vera Cruz. After a night of toil, they sought shelter 
under a sand bank to snatch a few hours' sleep, when 
an enormous shell from the Castle of San Juan de UUoa 
came crashing through their shelter, and nearly ended 
their earthly careers. Side by side, they served in the 
pursuit of the Mexicans, after the fall of Chapultepec, 
and their mutual friendship, born of admiration and 
confidence, was heightened by a closer association after 
the fall of the City of Mexico. 

So it was that in 1851, many years after their service 
together in Mexico, Captain Taylor's remark, "if the 
course had been one year longer, Jackson would have 
graduated at the head of his class," was recalled by 
Hill, and also the prophetic remark, "He will dis- 
tinguish himself in this war." 

Jackson had fully justified the expectations of 
Captain Taylor, and in order that his career up to 1851 
may be compared with those of McClellan, Reno and 
Rosecrans, has record is here given. 

Born in Harrison County, Virginia, of a large and 
influential family, the early boyhood of Jackson, if not 
oppressed by poverty, was a hard struggle by reason 
of the financial reverses of his father, who, as a lawyer, 
had lost a large sum of security money. 

Schools of an ordinary grade were inaccessible to one 
of young Jackson's means; and such primary in- 
struction as he received had to be obtained in spite of 
the severest demands for his labor on his father's farm 
notwithstanding the additional drawback of bad health 
and a feeble physical constitution. 

"Thus, were the years of his boyhood and early youth 
passed. We may picture to ourselves that manly and 
conscientious and thoughful, though delicate, boy, now 

70 The Military History of 

running the furrow, now planting the grain, now har- 
vesting the crop, or tending the cattle by day, and, in 
the intervals of labor, snatching up the grammar, or 
geography, or history, and thus laying the foundation 
for that education he was soon to receive. These trials 
and struggles of early boyhood, in thirsting after know- 
ledge, present a sublime spectacle, while there can be 
no doubt that the disciphne which Jackson thus under- 
went in his western home, while laying in the rudiments 
of a plain English education, constituted an important 
element in the development of those qualities which 
have added such lustre to his name. 

"In the winter of 1841-42, he became aware that a 
vacancy existed from his district in the United States 
Mihtary Academy at West Point. He was at once 
fired with the desire to secure the appointment. He was 
conscious of the great number of applicants, and of the 
difficulties in the way of success. He knew he was poorly 
prepared for the severe and advanced studies of the 
Academy; but, nothing daunted, he resolved to make 
the effort ; and, trusting to that providence whose guid- 
ance he ever acknowledged and sought, he started for 
Washington. His journey was a difficult one; partly 
on horseback, partly on foot, and partly by the public 
conveyances, he reached the national capital and laid 
his petition in person before his immediate representa- 
tive, the Hon. Samuel L. Hays. The manner of the 
youth, his earnestness, his resolution, his hopefulness, 
all spoke for him. These were his credentials; and the 
result was, he returned to his home with his warrant 
in his pocket, — his first public reward for honest effort 
in the path of duty. 

"On the 1st of July, 1842, he was admitted a cadet 
in the United States Military Academy. His class was 
a large and distinguished one. Generals McClellan, 
Foster, Reno, Couch, and Gibbon, of the Federal 
Army; and Generals A. P. Hill, Pickett, Maury, D. R. 
Jones, W. D. Smith, and Wilcox, of the Confederate 
Army, were among his classmates. He was at once 

The Virginia Military Institute 71 

brought into competition with young men of high culti- 
vation; and, although it is doubtful whether he had 
seen a French book in his life, or a Mathematical book, 
except his Arithmetic, he was assigned to the fourth 
class, and entered upon the study of Algebra, Ge- 
ometry, and French. At the end of his first year, in a 
class of seventy-two, he stood 45 in Mathematics, 70 
in French, had 15 demerit and was 51 in general merit. 
Such a standing would have discouraged an ordinary 
youth. Not so with Jackson. He knew his early dis- 
advantages. He was rather encouraged that he could 
sustain himself at all; and, stimulated by this hope and 
confidence, he pressed forward to the work of the next 
advanced class. Here, the studies were more abstruse 
and more compUcated ; but, when the examination came 
around, he had risen to 18 in Mathematics, 52 in 
French, was 68 in drawing and 55 in English studies, 
had 26 demerit, and was 30 in general merit. 

"In the second class a new course of studies was pre- 
sented to him. Having completed the pure Mathe- 
matics, French and English, he had now to enter upon 
the study of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy; and 
we see the upward and onward march of this youth in 
the result of the year, which placed him 11 in Natural 
Philosophy, 25 in Chemistry, 59 in drawing, with no 
demerit for the year, and in general merit he was 20. 
In July, 1846, his class graduated. In the studies of 
the final year he was 12 in Engineering, 5 in Ethics, 11 
in Artillery, 21 in Infantry Tactics, 11 in Mineralogy 
and Geology, had 7 demerit for the year, and his 
graduating standing, including the drawbacks of his 
previous years, was 17. 

"It was scarcely possible for a yoimg man to have 
entered upon a course of studies for which he was less 
prepared, from want of early preparation, than he was. 
Accustomed to the labor of the field, the change in his 
habits of life would have unsettled any ordinary man; 
but the resolute purpose to accompHsh what he had un- 
dertaken, and thus to vindicate the confidence of his 

72 The Military History of 

friends, animated him through all his difficulties, and 
crowned him with the honors of a graduate, and with 
the commission as a brevet second lieutenant of artillery, 
on the 1st of July, 1846. 

"Lieutenant Jackson immediately reported for duty 
with his regiment, the First Artillery, and was soon 
after assigned to Magruder's Light Battery, then 
serving in Mexico. On the 3d of March, 1847, he was 
promoted to second lieutenant, and on the 20th of 
August of the same year to the rank of first lieutenant. 
On that day the battles of Contreras and Churubusco 
were fought, and 'for gallant and meritorious conduct 
in these battles,' he was brevetted a captain. The 
battle of Chapultepec was fought on the 13th of 
September, and he was brevetted a major of artillery 
for 'gallant and meritorious conduct' in that battle. 
Thus, in the brief period of fourteen months, he had 
risen from a brevet second lieutenant of artillery, to the 
rank of a brevet major of artillery, — a success without 
parallel in the history of the Mexican War. His 
division commander thus noticed his conduct: 'The ad- 
vanced section of the battery, under the command of 
the brave Lieutenant Jackson, was dreadfully cut up 
and almost disabled.' . . . Captain Magruder's field 
battery, one section of which was served with great 
gallantry by himself, and the other by his brave lieu- 
tenant, Jackson, in the face of a galling fire from the 
enemy's intrenched positions, did invaluable service pre- 
paratory to the general assault. 

"Captain Magruder in his official report, made the 
following reference to him: 'I beg leave to call the 
attention of the Major- General commanding the 
division to the conduct of Lieutenant Jackson of the 
First Artillery. If devotion, industry, talent and 
gallantry are the highest qualities of a soldier, he is 
entitled to the distinction which their possession con- 
fers.' "* 

•From the memorial tribute to Jackson written by General Francis H. 
Smitli, and read to the Board of Visitors of the V. M. I. July 1, 1863. It 
Is given here verbatim because it comprises a comtemporary estimate upon 
the facts of which, as then known, the appointment of Jackson was made. 

D. H. Hill and Jackson were not brothers-in-law at this time, as is frequently 
erroneously asserted. 

The Virginia Military Institute 73 

Such was the record of the officer whom Major D. H. 
Hill recommended in the strongest terms to the Super- 
intendent, with the result that Colonel Smith at once 
wrote Major Jackson requesting permission to present 
his name to the Board. In reply, the following letter 
was received: 

"Fort Meade, Fla., February 25, 1851. 

"Dear Sir — I have just received your communication of the 4th 
inst., containing the kind proposition of bringing my name before 
the Board of Visitors of the Virginia Military Institute as a candi- 
date for the professorship of Natural and Experimental Philosophy. 
"Though strong ties bind me to the Army, yet I can not consent 
to decline so flattering an offer. Please present my name to the 
Board, and accept my thanks for your kindness. 
"I am, sir, 

"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson." 

There was an adjourned meeting of the Board in 
Richmond, and upon receipt of Major Jackson's favor- 
able reply, Colonel Smith immediately repaired to that 
city, and sought out the Hon. John S. Carlisle, who was 
one of its members, and a connection of Jackson's. 
CarUsle heartily endorsed his candidacy, and set to work 
to enhst support therefor, arguing that inasmuch as 
little patronage had been derived by the Institute from 
the western section of the State, it would be politic to 
appoint an officer from that quarter. 

When the Board convened on March 28, 1851, to con- 
sider the disturbing question of appointing the new 
professor, Hon. John Brannon, State Senator from 
Lewis Coimty, arose and nominated Major Thomas 
Jonathan Jackson, stating in a strong plea for his ap- 
pointment that this officer was from his section of the 
State, that he was well known in western Virginia, 
that the distinguished reputation he had gained in 
Mexico had made him the idol of the people, and that 
his election to the chair would greatly strengthen the 
Institute in that quarter. 

74 The Military Histoby of 

Mr. Brannon's nomination was promptly seconded 
and Major Jackson was unanimously elected, a result 
insured by hard work and the most thorough canvass of 
the Board before the matter was finally considered. 
Thus, we see that not only Providence, but West Point 
and State poUtics, all combined to produce "Stonewall" 

Colonel Smith, highly pleased with his victory, com- 
municated the result of the election to Major Jackson 
on the day it occurred, and nearly a month later received 
the following reply: 

"Fort Meade, Fla., April 22, 1861. 

"Colonel — Your letter of the 28th ult., informing me that I 
had been elected Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy 
and Artillery Tactics, in the Virginia Military Institute, has been 

"The high honor conferred by the Board of Visitors in selecting 
me unanimously to fill such a professorship gratified me exceedingly. 

"I hope to be able to meet the Board on the 28th of June, next, 
but fear that circumstances over which I have no control will 
prevent my doing so before that time. For your kindness in 
endeavoring to procure me a leave of absence for six months, as 
well as for the interest you have otherwise manifested in my behalf, 
I feel under strong and lasting obligations. 

"Should I desire a furlough of more than one month, commencing 
on the 1st of July next, it will be for the purpose of visiting Europe. 

"I regret that recent illness has prevented my giving you an 
earlier answer. Any communication which you may have to make, 
previous to the 1st of June, please direct to this place. 

"I am. Colonel, 

"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson. 
"To Col. Francis Smith, 

"Sup't Virginia Military Institute, 

"Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia." 

At this time, Major Jackson's health was very poor, 
and his eyes, especially, were so weak he had to exercise 
great prudence in using them, never doing so at night. 
Thus crippled for his new work, he was asked by a 
friend if he did not hesitate to accept a position when he 

The Vikginia Military Institute 75 

was physically incapacitated to fill it. "Not in the 
least," was his prompt answer. "The appointment came 
unsought, and was therefore providential; and I knew 
that if Providence set me a task. He would give me the 
power to perform it. So, I resolved to get well, and you 
see I have. As to the rest, I knew that what / willed 
to do, I could do!' 

INIajor Jackson tendered his resignation at once, to 
take effect February 29, 1852, and secured a leave of 
absence from Jime imtil that date. In the meantime, 
he was transferred to Fort Hamilton, and in order to 
recuperate his strength, he spent the month of July on 
Lake Ontario, and, reporting at Lexington early in 
August, was assigned to duty as Acting Commandant, 
with Captains R. E. Rodes and J. W. Massie as his 
assistants. In a few days Major Jackson marched the 
Corps to Warm Springs, Virginia, where it remained 
in camp for three weeks, returning to Lexington in time 
for the opening of the session, September 1st, at which 
time Major GiUiam returned from leave. 

During the encampment Major Jackson did not 
prove a success as a Commandant, and gave no evidence 
of ability to command young men. His appointment 
led to the early resignation of Captain Rodes, who took 
up railroad engineering, which profession he followed 
with success until the outbreak of the war, just before 
which he was elected a professor at the Institute.* 

♦Upon reporting for duty at the Institute, Major Jackson found an old 
friend wlio had been most insistent in his humble way, urging the former's 
appointment. General Smith, who was from Norfolk, and frequently visited 
Fortress Monroe, had some years before appointed Sergeant Dempsey, of the 
Artillery, Ordnance Sergeant at the Institute. This worthy man, who faithfully 
served the Institute many years, had been a member of Jackson's battery In 
Mexico. Upon learning that an artillery officer was being sought for by the 
Superintendent, he had persistently spoken of Major Jackson, his old battery 
commander, referring again and again to Major Jackson as the finest officer in 
the Artillery. 

When Jackson was buried in Lexington, Mrs. Jackson presented the faithful 
Sergeant Dempsey with the military boots in which her husband was killed, 
and they are now owned by a gentleman in Lexington to whose mother they 
were willed by their proud owner. 

76 The Military History of 




The faculty of the Institute now consisted of Colonel 
Smith, Majors Preston, WilUamson, Gilham, and 
Jackson, and several young Assistant Professors with 
tactical duties. Captain Rodes resigned soon after 
Jackson's appointment. 

It is frequently assumed by those ignorant of the 
facts, that Jackson was the military genius of the Insti- 
tute during his association with the School. Nothing 
could be more erroneous than such a beUef. His sole 
connection with the miUtary affairs of the School was as 
Instructor of Ordnance and Artillery Tactics and Com- 
mander of the Cadet battery which President Taylor 
had presented the Corps the year before Jackson's 

As a member of the faculty Jackson did undoubtedly 
exert his own peculiar influence upon the Corps of 
Cadets and the community in which he dwelt; but his 
was not a commanding influence, nor did he in any way 
shape the course of events at the Institute, or its 
character as a School of Arms. I believe it is not too 
much to say that Jackson was influenced more by the 
Institute than it was by him. Even had he possessed 
the personality to be a leader of thought, he did not 
occupy a sufficiently prominent position as a mere pro- 
fessor, without executive duties of any kind, to exercise 
a positive control. 

In the writer's opinion, the impression of Jackson 
which a late popular novehst has sought to create is not 
a correct one. That impression harmonizes too well 
with the Boer-hke figure portrayed in the frontispiece 
of the "Long Roll." Jackson was undoubtedly eccentric 

The Virginia Military Institute 77 

as we shall see, but he was not a bore ; he was peculiar 
but not rough. He was not handsome, but in his ap- 
pearance there was nothing partaking of the repulsive; 
he was rather unhandsome than ugly; unpolished than 
coarse in grain. 

The writer did not, of course, know Jackson, but he 
has been at particular pains to gain a correct impression 
of the man as he appeared while a professor at the 
Virginia Military Institute. Jackson may have ap- 
peared otherwise to those who knew him elsewhere ; but 
to his personal acquaintances, his brother-officers, his 
business associates, his official superiors, his military 
subordinates, his social equals, his servants, his superiors 
and his inferiors, in Lexington, he presented the fea- 
tures so carefully and vividly portrayed by his military 
biographer, John Esten Cooke. That likeness has been 
verified in detail by the author. It bears the flesh tints 
from the brush of an artist who painted from life, and, 
as it can not be improved upon in the writer's opinion, 
it is herein incorporated: 

"Well-meaning persons have drawn a wholly incor- 
rect likeness of Jackson at this period of his life. Misled 
by admiration, and yielding to the temptation to 
eulogy, they have bestowed upon Professor Jackson 
every moral and physical grace, and even his eccentric- 
ities have been toned down into winning ways, original 
and characteristic, which only made their possessor 
more charming than before. We are sorry to say this 
is all fancy. Jackson was the farthest possible removed 
from anything graceful; and as the first merit of any 
biography is accuracy, we shall endeavor to lay before 
the reader a truthful sketch of the real form seen mov- 
ing to and fro, on the streets of Lexington, between the 
years 1851 and 1861. 

"It was the figure of a tall, gaunt, awkward indi- 
vidual, wearing a gray imiform, and apparently moving 
by separate and distinct acts of volition. This stiff and 
unbending figure passed over the ground with a sort 
of stride, as though measuring the distance from one 

78 The Military History of 

given point to ailother; and those who followed its 
curious movements saw it pause at times, apparently 
from having reached the point desired. The eyes of the 
individual at such moments were fixed intently upon 
the ground; his lips moved in soliloquy; the absent and 
preoccupied gaze and general expression of the features 
plainly showed a profound unconsciousness of 'place 
and time.' It was perfectly obvious that the mind of 
the military-looking personage in the gray coat was 
busy upon some problem entirely disconnected from his 
actual surroundings. The fact of his presence at Lex- 
ington, in the commonwealth of Virginia, had evidently 
disappeared from his consciousness; the figures moving 
around him were mere plantasmagoria ; he had travelled 
in search of some principle of philosophy, or some truth 
in theology, quite out of the real, work-a-day world, and 
deep in the land of dreams. If you spoke to him at 
such times, he awoke as if it were from sleep, and looked 
into your face with an air of simplicity and inquiry, 
which sufficiently proved the sudden transition which he 
had made from the world of thoughts to that of reahty. 

"In lecturing to his class, his manner was grave, 
earnest, full of military brevity, and destitute of all the 
graces of the speaker. Business-like, systematic, some- 
what stern, with an air of rigid rule, as though the 
matter at issue were of the utmost importance, and 
he was entrusted with the responsibility of seeing that 
due attention was paid to it — he did not make a very 
favorable impression upon the volatile youths, who sat 
at the feet of this military GamaUel. They listened 
decorously to the grave Professor, but, once dismissed 
from his presence, took revenge by a thousand jests 
upon his peculiarities of mind and demeanor. His 
oddities were the subject of incessant jokes; his eccentric 
ways were dwelt upon with all the eloquence and sar- 
castic gusto which characterize the gay conversation of 
yormg men discussing an unpopular teacher. No 
idiosyncrasy of the Professor was lost sight of. His 
stiff, angular figure; the awkward movement of his 

The Virginia Military Institute 79 

body; his absent and 'grum' demeanor; his exaggerated 
and apparently absurd devotion to miUtary regularity; 
his wearisome exactions of a similar observance on their 
part ; — ^that general oddity, eccentricity, and singularity 
in moving, talking, thinking, and acting peculiar to him- 
self — all these were described on a thousand occasions, 
and furnished unfailing food for laughter. They called 
him 'Old Tom Jackson'; and pointing significantly to 
their foreheads, said he was 'not quite right there.' 
Some inclined to the belief that he was only a great 
eccentric; but others declared him 'crazy.' Those who 
had experienced the full weight of his professorial baton 
— who had been reprimanded before the class, or 're- 
ported' to the Superintendent for punishment or dis- 
missal — called him 'Fool Tom Jackson.' 

"These details are not very heroic, and detract con- 
siderably from that dignified outline which eulogistic 
writers upon Jackson have drawn. But they are true. 
Nothing is better established than the fact that the 
man to whom General Lee wrote, 'Could I have directed 
events, I should have chosen for the good of the coimtry 
to have been disabled in your stead,' and of whom the 
London Times said, 'That mixture of daring and judg- 
ment, which is the mark of "Heaven born" Generals, 
distinguished him beyond any man of his time' — ^noth- 
ing is more certain, we say, than that this man was 
sneered at as a fool, and on many occasions stigmatized 
as insane. 

"It is doubtless true, however, that some .of the 
youths, of more generous disposition or penetrating 
judgment, did not share in this general opinion.* They 
saw in the young professor originahty rather than ec- 
centricity of mind. They could acknowledge the 
pecuharities of his views and opinions, and the singular- 
ity of some of his habits, without sharing the popular 
impression that some wheel or crank of his mental 
machinery was out of order. Upon one point, however, 

•Among whom may be mentioned Col. R. Preston Chew, '61, who, in his 
address at the Institute on the occasion of the unveiling of Bzekiel's .Tackson 
Statue denied much that has been written about Jackson's appearance and 

80 The Military History or 

there seems to have been a general concurrence: the 
young teacher's possession of an indomitable fearless- 
ness and integrity in the discharge of every duty. His 
worst enemies never ventured to say that he did not 
walk the straight path of. right, and administer his 
official duties without fear, favor, or affection. They 
were forced to recognize the fact that this stiff mihtary 
machine measured out justice to all alike, irrespective 
of persons, and could not be turned aside from the 
direct course by any influences around him. The cadets 
laughed at him, but they were afraid of him. They 
agreed, by common consent, that it was time thrown 
away to write excuses for a 'report' made by Major 
Jackson. The faculty had come, from long experience, 
to understand that when Major Jackson reported a 
cadet he deserved punishment, and the consequence was 
that, although the young men derided his peculiarities, 
and laughed in private at his odd ways, they felt that 
he was their master, and yielded full obedience to his 

"Such was the ex-artillerist turned professor. From 
his functions of professor in the schoolroom, he would 
pass to those of instructor of artillery on the parade 
ground. Here he was more in his element. He was 
called upon to teach the mysteries of that arm of the 
service which he loved above all others; and the pro- 
ficiency of the cadets in drill and all the evolutions of 
the battery was soon a subject of remark. Jackson 
took great interest in those drills, especially when blank 
cartridges were used. 'An Ex-Cadet,' in his interesting 
account of this portion of Jackson's life, says : 'As soon 
as the sound of the guns would fall upon his ears, a 
change would seem to come over Major Jackson. He 
would grow more erect ; the grasp upon his sabre would 
tighten; the quiet eyes would flash; the large nostrils 
would dilate, and the cahn, grave face would glow with 
the proud spirit of the warrior. I have been frequently 
struck with this, and have often called the attention of 
others to it.' 

The Virginia Military Institute 81 

"We have thus presented the figure of Jackson under 
two or three aspects — as the absent-looking thinker 
moving, lost in meditation, through the streets of Lex- 
ington; the grave professor in the lecturer's desk, and 
the officer of artillery, with sabre at his side, directing 
the drill and drawling out his commands in the long, 
singsong fashion, pecuhar to the graduates of West 
Point. His appearance on Sunday will conclude our 
outline. He attended church with imfailing regularity. 
Punctual to the moment, the form of the Professor was 
seen to enter church, decorously approach the familiar 
pew, and enter vidth grave respect in his whole de- 
meanor. Book in hand, he followed the words of the 
hymn sung by the congregation, and at the signal for 
prayer rose erect, his tall figure remaining motionless 
as a statue imtil the prayer was finished. After the 
service he retraced his steps with decorous gravity and 
retired to his quarters, to return again with the same 
punctuahty, and conduct himself with the same solemn 
respect, at the evening services. The hours of Sun- 
day not spent in church were given up to religious 
reading, meditation, and prayer in his study or in the 
bosom of his family. 

"Thus passed, in routine of duty, barren and dull to 
the beholder, but doubtless interesting to him, a period 
of nearly ten years. Jackson's health was still delicate, 
and he suifered much from weakness of eyesight; but 
these drawbacks did not interfere with the rigid and 
complete discharge of his duties. The feebleness of 
his sight induced him to turn his attention especially 
to that subject, and when the revolution commenced, he 
had made considerable progress in an elementary work 
on Optics, which he proposed to publish for the benefit 
of his class. His character seems to have been under- 
stood and appreciated by the best classes of the little 
society of Lexington, and his virtues were greatly re- 
spected. Men of grave character and experience dis- 
cerned the merits of the solid man; and if they did not 
suspect the presence of that military genius which he 

82 The Military History of 

afterwards exhibited on another arena, they valued him 
for his conscientious devotion to duty, and loved him for 
his simplicity and piety. One who was connected with 
him officially at this time. Colonel Smith, the Superin- 
tendent, writes : 'His great principle of government was 
that the general rule should not be violated for any 
particular good; and his animating rule of action was, 
that a man could always accomplish what he willed to 
perform.' This statement may be paraphrased in the 
words system, regularity, justice, impartiality, and im- 
conscionable perseverance and determination. These 
were valuable lessons to teach youths. They laughed 
at him, but they imbibed the principles of action which 
he taught. They derided the rigid disciphne which the 
young monitor enacted ; denoimced him for administer- 
ing things on a 'war footing,' and no doubt honestly 
regarded him as a most unreasonable advocate of useless 
military etiquette; but they were slowly and certainly 
trained, like growing twigs, in the direction which the 
teacher wished. Jackson proceeded upon the eminently 
just view that the Institute was a military school, 
whose chief value consisted in the habits of military 
system and obedience which is impressed on the ductile 
characters of the cadets, and regarded any relaxation 
of the rules of the establishment as directly tending to 
strike at the intention of its founders and destroy its 
usefulness. Many anecdotes touching this point are 
related of him. He once continued to wear a thick 
woolen uniform during the sultriest days of summer, 
when everybody else had adopted the lightest attire 
possible; and when asked by one of the professors why 
he did so, replied 'that he had seen an order prescribing 
the uniform which he wore, but none had been exhibited 
to him directing it to be changed.' 

"As yet, however, the cadets laughed, and doubted 
the good sense of all this rigid discipline. They not 
only made fun of the grave Professor behind his back, 
but persecuted and "sorely tried' him, says an 'Ex- 

The Virginia Military Institute 83 

Cadet', by practical jokes. One of these was amusing, 
and will give the reader some idea of the youths with 
whom he had to deal. The battery used in drilling was 
managed by drag-ropes, which the plebe class manned. 
Sometimes a linchpin would be secretly abstracted, and 
the piece or caisson would break down in the midst of 
the drill. A more mirth-provoking device even than 
this, however, was hit upon. A small bell was adroitly 
suspended inside of the limber-box, and the conspirators 
demurely took their places at the drag-ropes. The com- 
mander of the battery gave the order, 'Forward', and 
the pieces began to move. Suddenly a mysterious 
tinkling was heard, and the cadets, unable to withstand 
this tax upon their risible faculties, burst into shouts of 
laughter. The Professor looked astonished, halted the 
battery, and with great earnestness instituted an in- 
quiry into the phenomenon. It was in vain ; nothing was 
discovered, and the order was again given for the pieces 
to move forward. They moved, and the hidden bell 
again tinkled, amid renewed shouts of laughter. How 
this adventm'e terminated we are not informed, but 
there is no doubt the trick was played and was not 
greatly enjoyed by Professor Jackson. Other devices 
of the frolicsome cadets to anijoy him seem to have af- 
fected him with a touch of humor. We have referred 
to the long drawling manner in which, following the 
fashion of West Point, he gave his commands. A fav- 
orite movement with him was to bring the battery 
into echelon; and whenever the command to 'Form 
echelon' was given with its accompaniment, 'Right 
obhque — trot — ^march!' the whole ground would ring 
Avith the commands, repeated by the cadet officers, in the 
most ridiculous drawl imaginable. One evening when 
this had been carried to unwonted excess, the adjutant 
approached Jackson and asked him how he was pleased 
with the drill. 

" 'Very much, sir,' replied Jackson; then smiling 
slightly he added, 'the officers gave very fine commands 
this afternoon.' 

84 The Military History of 

"No opportunity of having a laugh at the Professor's 
expense was lost sight of, and on another occasion the 
cadets had some grounds for their amusements. One 
day Jackson informed his class that the clock in front 
of the Institute was not correct, and declared his in- 
tention to ascertain, hy scientific means, the exact time. 
He accordingly marched out to the parade ground, with 
the class at his heels, and proceeded, by means of his 
instruments, to take an observation. The result was 
amusing and delighted the cadet-heart. He finished his 
work about half -past twelve in the day, and to his pro- 
found astonishment discovered that it was nearly seven 
in the evening! The cadets set up a shout, and after 
looking around him with an incredulous surprise for 
some moments, Jackson joined in the general laughter. 
It was soon discovered that the instruments were out 
of order, but the cadets did not suffer this fact to lessen 
their appreciation of the joke. 

"One of the few exhibitions of the tendency to humor 
which we find in Jackson's whole career occurred at this 
period. The reader will not be troubled with many 
similar incidents, and we give the anecdote here. One 
morning in 1858 he called upon a member of the 
graduating class, and with profound gravity pro- 
pounded the following scientific question: 

" 'Why is it impossible to send a telegraphic dispatch 
from Lexington to Staunton?' 

"The cadet reflected for some moments, and then re- 
plied that the explanation of this phenomenon doubt- 
less lay in the fact that the amount of iron ore in the 
mountains drew the magnetic current from the wires. 

"A covert smile touched upon Jackson's features; 
fled away, and he said: 

" 'No, sir; you can take your seat.' 

"Another was called up, but he too failed to explain 
the mystery. A second, then a third were equally un- 
successful — Jackson listening to their theories with pro- 
found attention, but with the same sly smile that had 
greeted the first solution. This smile probably at- 

The Virginia Military Institute 85 

tracted the attention of the next cadet who was called, 
and threw a sudden light upon the subject. His 
countenance lit up ; his lips broke into a smile in return, 
and he said: 

" 'Well, Major Jackson, I reckon it must be, because 
there is no telegraph between the two places.' 

" 'You are right, sir,' replied Jackson, who had sud- 
denly renewed his composed expression. 'You can take 
your seat.' 

"An outburst of laughter from the class greeted this 
passage of arms in which the Professor was overthrown, 
but the unwonted display of humor had apparently ex- 
hausted Jackson's appreciation of the quality for the 
time. He called the class to order, and calmly con- 
tinued the subject of the recitation as if nothing had 

"We give this incident upon good authority. It is 
the first and last attempt at a practical joke which we 
find in Jackson's life. 

"Another incident of his dealings with the cadets is 
an illustration of the quiet courage of the man, and 
disregard of personal consequences where duty was con- 
cerned. He had brought charges against a cadet, who 
was tried and dismissed from the Institute. Burning 
with resentment, the young man declared his intention 
to take Jackson's Mfe, and arming himself took his 
position on the road from Lexington to the Institute, 
over which he knew the Professor would pass to meet 
his class. A friend had overheard the youth express his 
bloody intention, and hastening to warn Jackson, met 
him on the road, and informed him of his danger, 
strongly urging him to turn back. To turn back, how- 
ever, was to neglect his recitations on that day, and to 
hold his recitations was a part of his duty. He 
peremptorily refused to retrace his steps, and with the 
cold and stern reply, 'Let the assassin murder me if he 
will!' continued his way. As he approached the spot 
indicated, he saw the young man standing and awaiting 
liim. He turned and gazed fixedly at him with that 

86 The Militaey History of 

look which had fronted, unmoved, the most terrible 
scenes of carnage upon many battlefields. The youth 
could not sustain it; he lowered his eyes, and, turning 
away in silence, left the spot, while Jackson cahnly pur- 
sued his way. 

"We have here placed upon record, with such illus- 
trations as we could collect, the traits of character which 
distinguished Jackson at this period of his life. One 
other which is mentioned by a recent biographer should 
be noticed — the strength of his memory. 'In the section- 
room,' says 'an Ex-Cadet', 'he would sit perfectly erect 
and motionless, listening with grave attention, and ex- 
hibiting the great powers of his wonderful memory, 
which was, I think, the most remarkable that ever came 
under my observation. The course that he taught was 
the most difficult and complicated known to mathe- 
matics, running through at least half a dozen text- 
books. In listening to a recitation he rarely used a book. 
He was ready at any moment to refer to any page or 
line in any of the books, and then to repeat with per- 
fect accuracy the most difficult passages that could be 
referred to.' 

"Such was Jackson at Lexington; a stiff, earnest, 
mihtary figure — artillery officer turned professor; stern 
in his bearing, eccentric in his habits, peculiar in many 
of his views, leading a life of alternate activity in the 
section-room, and abstraction in the study, independent, 
devoted to duty, deeply religious in sentiment, and 
notable in person, deportment, and character for an un- 
doubted originality. The eccentric figure was as well 
known in Lexington as the 'Iron Duke', raising the 
finger to his hat, and uttering his curt greeting in the 
streets of London. As years wore on, his character was 
better understood — ^his merit more fully recognized. 
We may doubt Colonel Smith's assertion that at the 
breaking out of the war, 'the spontaneous sentiment of 
every cadet and graduate was to serve under him as their 
leader,' but there is good reason to believe that he had 
strongly impressed great numbers of persons with a 

The Virginia Military Institute 87 

conviction of his soldierly qualities — his good judgment, 
impartiality, perseverance, courage, and knowledge of 
the profession of arms."* 

To the foregoing description of Jackson's career as 
a professor at the Institute much might be added in the 
nature of confirmatory evidence. But I shall only at- 
tempt to fill in the gaps, avoiding repetition as much as 

As a professor. Major Jackson was not a success. It 
is not in that iconoclastic spirit which too commonly 
leads the flippant critic to break down popular beliefs 
concerning the perfections of great men, but in the 
interest of historical truth, that this assertion is here 
made. According to the testimony of his superior officer 
at the Institute, who was responsible for his appoint- 
ment, and knew of his abilities as a professor in a way 
that no other did, Jackson displayed no qualifications 
for the chair he was selected to fill. By nature, he was 
no teacher; and he lacked the tact required for the suc- 
cessful handling of young men. Every officer and every 
cadet respected him for his many sterhng qualities. 
They knew him to be brave, conscientious, and to be 
a good Christian man; and the glamor of his military 
exploits in Mexico appealed with especial force to the 
youth with whom he was associated; but his warmest 
personal admirers perceived at once he was not gifted 
in the work he had chosen to pursue. 

Even as a military commander at the Institute, 
Major Jackson failed to inspire that confidence in the 
cadets which one, who later developed such high genius 
for command, might now be supposed to have done. 
It is a well known fact that the peculiarities of genius 
are usually construed as eccentricities, by associates, 
rather than as indicative evidence of extraordinary 
abihty on the part of the one possessing them. It is 
only in the retrospect that one attributes idiosyncrasies 

* stonewall Jackson, a Military Biography, John Eaten Cooke, pp. 23-32. 
See also Memorial Va. Mil. Inst., Walker ; Henderson's Stonewall Jackson 
and the American Civil War ; Life of Stonewall Jackson, Daniels ; Wearing 
of the Gray, Cooke ; Life and Campaigns of Stonewall Jackson, Dabney ; 
and Religious Character of Stonewall Jackson, Smith. 

88 The Military History of 

to the temperament of genius; and youth especially is 
wont to lose no time forecasting future greatness from 
present eccentricity. Young men, and the large ma- 
jority of maturer minds as well, are concerned with 
the material aspect of things in their relation to the 
present. Thus it is, that the smaller intellect capable 
of a complete mastery of a task of commensurate magni- 
tude, is ordinarily rated higher in the general estimate 
than a less circumscribed intellect which gives imperfect 
evidences of its grasp of tangible things. Especially is 
this true of cadets, who in their uncritical judgment 
would at once underestimate a Hannibal, should he 
undertake to discharge the duties of a drill-master, with- 
out a thorough knowledge of the details involved. The 
immature mind, whether of youth or men, does not deal 
in generalities, but exacts preciseness in the most trivial 
matters. Nor can it accept the unconventional oddities 
of style and manner, beneath which a broader mind de- 
tects the more essential qualities ; they only obscure those 
qualities from the view of the undiscerning ; and thus 
the superficial attributes are construed as the true na- 
ture of the subject under consideration. 

"Major Jackson's presence was not striking, his man- 
ners were not attractive, and his habits were so eccentric 
that he had not ranked high as a professor; even at the 
time of his most astonishing victories, and when any 
cadet there would have given all he possessed to be with 
him, the stories of 'Old Jack's' eccentricities made daily 
sport for the cadets." Such were the accurate recol- 
lections of one who upon mature reflection sought to re- 
cord his youthful estimate of the great man, under 
whom he had served as a cadet.* And this testimony 
is almost universally corroborated. 

One who knows human nature, and more particularly 
the nature of young men, — one who has not yet lost 
touch with the spirit of youth, may readily detect from 
the following account the feelings of the Corps of Cadets 
with respect to Major Jackson: 

♦End of an Era, John S. Wise, p. 268. 

The Virginia Military Institute 89 

"It was a famous joke how, when he had been driUing 
the Third Class in light artillery, with the 'plebes' as 
horses, the cadets had drawn the hnchpins from the 
cannon wheels; and as the guns made the turn near the 
parapet along the edge of the parade ground, the wheels 
had come oflp and sent the pieces tumbling over the 
slope. When this would happen, as it often did, Major 
Jackson would gallop up, look ruefully down the slope, 
and remark, without the shghtest suspicion: 'There 
must be something defective in the construction of these 
linchpins; they seem inclined to fly out whenever the 
pieces in rapid motion change direction.' " 

Now, here, let it be interpolated, no such incident as 
this could have occurred but once (at most), under 
Major GiUiam who, the first time it did occur, would 
in his more practical knowledge of young men, probably 
have required the old cadets to draw the pieces up the 
slope, instead of halting them in the shade while the 
innocent human gun-teams labored at the task! Such 
an expedient would have at once remedied all defects in 
the linchpins. But Major Jackson's mind was not con- 
stituted that way. 

Soon after his appointment, lack of harmony de- 
veloped between Major Jackson and the Superin- 
tendent. It was said Major Jackson would have little 
to do with his superior officer, except in an official way. 
"Professors were required under the regulations to 
make their weekly reports to the Superintendent at four 
o'clock Friday afternoon. It was told of 'Old Jack' 
that Friday afternoon, within a few minutes of four 
o'clock, he would appear in front of the Superin- 
tendent's office, and walk up and down, xmtil the clock 
struck four. It made no difference whether it was rain- 
ing, haiUng, snowing, or freezing, he woijld not enter 
until the clock struck; then, with mihtary precision, he 
would advance to the office of the Superintendent, sa- 
lute, lay his report upon the table, face about, and walk 
out. It was also related that during the recitations he 
was frequently occupied in rubbing one side of himself. 

90 The Military History of 

under the impression (confided to a select few) that 
one side of his body was not so well nourished as the 
other, and was gradually wasting away." 

The writer of this interesting account does not him- 
self vouch for the truth of the reports he recounts, and 
they may have all been greatly exaggerated, and very 
likely were; but the fact remains, that the general im- 
pression was according to the current rumor or gossip, 
and we readily understand why the cadets dubbed a 
man but twenty-seven years of age, "Old Jack", "Old 
Tom Jackson", and "Fool Tom Jackson". 

With Gilham as Commandant, and Jackson as In- 
structor of Ordnance and Artillery Tactics, the military 
instruction of the School progressed with the utmost 
success; but Gilham was the disciplinarian and the 
champion of the military ideals of the Institute. He 
was regarded by many as a veritable martinet, was dis- 
liked by those who shirked their duty and felt the iron 
of his hand, admired intensely by his associate officers 
and the great majority of the Corps, and respected by 
all. When the Superintendent, — a kindly, gentle man, 
thoroughly imbued with the principles of discipline, but, 
occasionally, through what he deemed to be policy, 
inclined to overlook in a spirit of paternalism, breaches 
of discipline, — it was Major Gilham, the Commandant, 
who opposed these tendencies to depart from the strict 
requirements of duty. At times, of course, the Com- 
mandant was too exacting ; for, thrown into contact with 
cadets only in his military capacity, he dealt with them 
as men with men's responsibihties, and treated them 
accordingly. He rightly perceived that it was not the 
academic excellence of the Institute upon which its suc- 
cess depended ; for he knew that many other institutions 
of learning afforded a higher and more elaborate course 
of instruction. He understood that it was the military, 
or characteristic, feature of the Institute that must be 
preserved, and maintained at the highest standard of 
efficiency; and that just in so far as the fundamental 
conception of the School was ignored and departed 

The Virginia Military Institute 91 

from, to that extent was its power of usefulness sacri- 
ficed. In such a belief it was that he demanded of cadets 
the most conscientious and thorough attention to miU- 
tary duty; and when one of them proved remiss and 
failed to respond to reasonable measures of correction, 
he took the stand that the Institute was not a reforma- 
tory, and that however hard the penalty of dismissal 
might be upon the incorrigible cadet, and his parents, 
the general interest should not be sacrificed in a spirit 
of mistaken leniency to the individual. 

It is needless here to add that Gilham's views were 
the only practicable ones for a Commandant of Cadets. 
Entertaining any other views, one, responsible for the 
discipline of a large body of young men, is destined to 
meet with inevitable failure. There is no mid course be- 
tween discipline and indiscipline; nor can discipline be 
compromised with in the interest of an individual where 
the control of many is involved. Soldiers, and especially 
cadets, are invariably happier and more content under 
a system of rigid exaction of duty, which is specific in 
its demands and prompt and impartial in the ad- 
ministration of justice. They do not weigh the penalty, 
or rebel, however severe the penalty may be, if only 
it be assigned with firmness and impartiality. No pun- 
ishment can be inflicted, however, without serious con- 
sequences, unless at least these two requisites are 

From the foregoing, it must not be inferred that the 
Superintendent overlooked the requirements of disci- 
pline. He merely found it difficult on occasions to ex- 
act the full recompense from the youthful offender. 
This was natural. Men either grow more lenient or 
more tyrannical with increasing years. General Smith 
was never a tyrant. At times he did fail to perceive 
that in a military body where failure to do appointed 
tasks tends to lower the general standard of efficiency 
penalties lose much of their character as individual 
punishments, and become stimulants as well as 

92 The Military History of 

At this point, it may be well to advert at some length 
to the view of discipline, which has in the main pre- 
vailed at the Institute and upon which so much of its 
success as a school of arms has been based. 

From the first, it was perceived that discipline con- 
sists of more than a code of regulations, devised and 
promulgated to order the conduct of those subject 
thereto, but that it consists of such a code coupled with 
a consistent, firm, prompt, and unvarying system of 
enforcement. At the Institute the system of enforce- 
ment was based not upon physical compulsion, but upon 
mental compulsion through fear of the exaction of a 
prescribed penalty for any violation of the code of 

Discipline becomes eifective just to the extent that 
adherence to the regulations is compelled, and when 
the penalty system of compulsion is in effect, adherence 
to the rules of disciphne will be found according to the 
degree of rigidity with which the penalty prescribed for 
a violation is exacted. Discipline, however, is not to be 
gauged by the penalties exacted, for penalties when ex- 
cessive are conclusive of undue disregard of regulations. 
In other words, good conduct can not be argued from 
the recompense demanded for bad conduct. 

But there are other means available for the disci- 
plinarian than the penalty system of enforcement which 
may be employed in conjimction with such a system. 
Careful instruction, appeal to pride, reward for the 
faithful and efiicient discharge of duty — all these must 
serve to induce adherence to the established rules. Be- 
hind them, however, must stand the ever-present know- 
ledge that a violation of those rules Avill be attended with 
a penalty of such character as to make the violation 

Military discipline rigidly enforced may as a system 
be likened to the law of contract. A contract is volun- 
tarily entered into. While it can not be broken to the 
advantage of the one who disregards his obligations 
thereunder without incurring damages, yet the bonds 

The Vikginia Military Institute 93 

can not be oppressive. The unmilitary mind too often 
fails to perceive this analogy. It comprehends that the 
granting of damages to the party whose contract rights 
are violated is but a protection to society, and that it 
is not in the nature of a mere pimishment to the of- 
fender. But it can not grasp the fact that a military 
penalty is not a pimishment but a means of protecting 
the mihtary society and enforcing that general co- 
operation upon which the safety of the military unit, 
large or small, depends. To weaken the guarantee of 
protection in either case by failing to exact the damages 
in the first, and the penalty in the last, for any indi- 
vidual violation is itself an act which disregards the 
right of the many for the benefit of one. 

The foregoing idea of disciphne was fundamental in 
the military system of the Institute, where the individ- 
ual interest was never allowed under the regime of 
GiUiam, and later on under Shipp, to rise superior to 
that of the Corps of Cadets as a military unit. Neither 
of these eminently forceful and preeminently successful 
Commandants regarded a penalty as a punishment, or 
in the crude light of the exaction of recompense — "an 
eye for an eye." They did not relish the duty of in- 
flicting penalties, and by constant effect and patient in- 
struction sought to prevent the necessity from arising; 
yet when it did arise, they never allowed the kindness 
of their hearts to mislead them into encouraging the 
repetition of offenses by adopting an attitude of mis- 
taken leniency. They knew that kindness of heart like 
charity is dangerous in some cases, and in them does 
more harm than good. Their views prevailed and the 
result was that under them the correct ideas of disciphne 
were inculcated in the Corps of Cadets. 

Under the wise administration of affairs by the Super- 
intendent, and the firm command of the Corps of 
Cadets by Gilham, the Institute flourished, surpassing 
the most sanguine expectations. Before 1860, the new 
barracks, and many other buildings, had been erected, 
at a total expense to the State of $151,000; the more 

94 The Military History of 

essential improvements were effected between 1850 and 

The Superintendent had laid great stress before the 
Legislature on the fact that in building up the Institute 
the State was not only fostering its educational and 
industrial development, but at the same time was pro- 
viding for its defense in the event of war; and, as the 
imminence of sectional strife became more apparent, 
this argument proved more and more availing. 

July 4, 1856, Governor Henry A. Wise, always an 
ardent supporter of the Institute, dedicated the Wash- 
ington Monument and the new barracks, and in a mem- 
orable address, emphasized in bold terms the service 
which Virginia's School of Arms was destined to render 
the State. Expressing his pride, as Chief Executive 
of Virginia, in the Institution, he pledged his support 
to it in every reasonable way. His subsequent record 
shows that he fully discharged that promise. 

The favorable opinion of the people at this time, but 
expressed by the Governor, insured the successful prog- 
ress of the Institute. They now attached to it a value 
which they had failed to perceive until the chariots of 
Mars began to rumble. Hitherto, they had in large 
measure regarded the Institute as a dedication to the 
violent, lustful son of Jove. Now, they understood its 
true character, and saw that the conception of Crozet 
and Smith, and those others who had been active in 
the furtherance of their designs, had not merely raised 
a monument to Mars, but one to the peace-loving, 
though war-like, Minerva. And with this broad grasp 
of the situation, however tardy, the Legislature was 
just preparing to make possible the wide extension of 
the field of usefulness of the Institute, when war 

The Washington Monument in Richmond was not 
completed for many years after the laying of the cor- 
ner-stone; but, at last, February 22, 1858, the one 
hundred and twenty-sixth anniversary of the birth of 
the Immortal Patriot, was appointed as the day for the 
unveiling of the statue. 

The Virginia Military Institute 95 

Governor Wise ordered the Corps of Cadets, now 
about 150 strong, to attend the ceremonies as his escort 
of honor; and in due time the Battalion of four com- 
panies and a section of the battery, in command of 
Majors Gilham and Jackson, respectively, were em- 
barked aboard canal boats for Richmond, where the 
cadets were quartered in the Lyceum. 

The people had not yet forgotten the appearance of 
the Corps in the Capital eight years before, and wel- 
comed the cadets with open arms. 

"The appearance of the Corps on this occasion, the 
first on which I ever saw it," wrote a distinguished 
author, "was sufficient to excite the wildest enthusiasm 
of a small boy, such as I was at the time. Never be- 
fore had I seen such trim, alert figures; such clean, 
saucy-looking uniforms ; such machine-like precision and 
quickness of drill ; such silence and obedience. From the 
first day my eye rested on the Cadet Corps, my ambition 
was to be a cadet. 

"The only thing about this fine body that struck me 
as in any way lacking in soldierly appearance was the 
Commandant of the battery. He was not my ideal of 
a soldier, either in military bearing, or in the manner in 
which he gave his commands. His uniform was not 
new ; his old blue forage cap sat on the back of his head ; 
and he stood like a horse 'sprung' in the knees. His 
commands were given in a piping, whining tone, and he 
appeared to be deeply intent on his business, without 
paying much regard to the onlookers. On the other 
hand, the officer commanding the battalion of infantry 
was the model of a martinet. He was petite, quick as 
a lizard, straight as a ramrod, and his commands were 
given like the crack of a whiplash. I thought him a 
perfect commanding officer. 

"When the parade was dismissed, on inquiring about 
the officers, I learned that the odd-looking Commandant 

96 The Militaey History of 

was familiarly called 'Old Jack' ; and that his real name 
was Major Jackson; and that the cadets while disposed 
to make light of him for his eccentricities, dare not trifle 
with him. As to the other officer, Major Gilham, all 
agreed that he was the best drill-officer and tactician 
they had, and that he was superior to Major Jackson."* 

"At the grand reception given that night by my 
Father, the Governor, I again saw both these officers, 
and their bearing confirmed me in my judgment that 
there was no question which was the superior soldier. 
Major Jackson was plainly dressed, wore coarse shoes, 
had a weary look in his blue eyes, took very little part 
in conversation, seemed bored by the entertainment, 
neither ate nor drank, and after paying his respects to 
the Governor, and to General Winfield Scott, Com- 
mander-in-Chief of the Armies of the United States, 
quietly disappeared. Major Gilham, on the other hand, 
was urbane, ubiquitous, and remained until the close of 
the entertainment. 

"In after years, I had occasion to revise my opinion 
of these two men, for Major Jackson was none other 
than the immortal Stonewall." 

The visit of the Corps to Richmond in 1858, as in 
1850, was productive of much good. It not only ad- 
vertised the military worth of the Institute among the 
people of Virginia, but also among a host of visitors 
from all sections of the coxmtry; and this aroused in the 
cadets themselves a consciousness of their superiority, 
which constitutes one of the strongest factors of 
esprit de corps in a mihtary body. The reception they 
received, and the honors again thrust upon them, made 
them realize that much was expected of the Virginia 
Military Institute as the Corps Elite of the South, and 
the opportunity it afforded them to see and meet the 
dignitaries of the country, including such eminent sol- 
diers as General Winfield Scott, and his distinguished 

•The writer's memory played him a trick in connection with this interesting 
account. Major Jackson was not Commandant, nor was he in Richmond in 
1858. It was the following year that he accompanied the Corps to Richmond 
from Harper's Ferry, and was seen by the writer ; but the picture is a good 



Pkofessor 1830-1876, 1S7S-1882 

The Virginia Military Institute 97 

staff officers, aroused a sense of the dignity of their 

The influence of such incidents in the hfe of a young 
soldier can not be overestimated. Youthful impressions, 
always the strongest, are also the most lasting, and the 
contact of the cadets with Zachary Taylor, "Old Fuss 
and Feathers", and many other great men of the age, 
laid the foimdation of traditions which grow greener 
with time. 

The next great mihtary pageant of the State was 
held on the occasion of the removal of the remains of 
President Monroe from New York to Richmond, in 
July, 1858. On this occasion almost the entire military 
estabhshment of the State turned out, and the famous 
Seventh New York Regiment escorted the body by boat 
from New York to Richmond. But the Corps, being on 
furlough, did not attend, and took no part in the 
brilliant ceremonies. The gallant "Seventh", therefore, 
captured the mihtary honors of the day, and, it has even 
been said, fixed in the minds of the Virginians the color 
of the uniform afterwards adopted by the Confederacy. 
But this it not true. Long ere the New York troops 
made their appearance in Richmond, the South was 
famihar with the Cadet gray of West Point and the 

It was at this time, that Major GiUiam strongly urged 
the extension of the mihtary instruction of the Institute 
to include practical cavalry and hght artillery drill with 
horses. It had been for years the desire of the Board 
to provide for such instruction ; and, now that graduates 
of the Institute were being eagerly sought and relied 
upon for the re-organization of the mihtia, the need of 
more general instruction seemed all the more pressing. 

Major GiUiam's plan embraced the procuring of 30 
horses which he declared parents would provide, and, 
furthermore, he stated that certain citizens of Lexington 
would donate others. The cost of hauling for the 
Institute he estimated at $1,800.00 per annimi. This 
work could be done by the cavalry and artillery horses. 

98 The Military History of 

Should they be provided they could actually be kept 
for the amount saved. By increasing the annual charge 
against each cadet $15.00 until the State made adequate 
provision, mounted instruction could be given the 
Second Class, and every graduate would go forth 
thoroughly trained in the three branches, instead of in 
infantry tactics, and the theory of gunnery alone. But 
GiUiam's wise plan has never yet been adopted in spite 
of the constant efforts of successive Commandants. 

The Virginia Military Institute 99 




During the period immediately subsequent to 1855, 
the friction between the two sections over slavery ques- 
tions increased at an alarming rate. "The declamation 
against distinion, and the mutual pledges of fraternal 
love between North and South, which attended the ban- 
quet to the Seventh New York Regiment ia Richmond, 
arose in great part from a knowledge of sectional feel- 
ing, threats of disunion, and of partisan recriminations 
between pohticians, but too familiar to all who spoke." 
Mere pledges of fraternity between their soldiery could 
not blmd the eyes of the people of either New York or 
Virginia to the crisis that was impending. 

Never for an instant had the necessity for prepared- 
ness been overlooked at the Institute, and with increas- 
ing nimibers and demands for entrance, came enlarge- 
ments of the Faculty and the facilities for instruction. 

The unprecedented success of the Virginia Military 
Institute by no means turned the heads of those at the 
helm whose motto had been "Progress". Avaihng them- 
selves of the best this country had to offer, it was now 
proposed by them to send Colonel Smith to Europe to 
study the methods of the best military and scientific in- 
stitutions of the old world. Accordingly, fully ac- 
credited by the Board of Visitors and the Governor of 
Virginia, he sailed from New York June 9, 1858, with 
three graduates of the Institute, returning the last of 
December, following. During his investigations which 
extended over a period of nearly five months, he visited 
every one of the principal mihtary schools of England, 
France, and Germany, and procured a mass of infor- 
mation, more valuable in the academic development of 

100 The Militaky History of 

the School, than with respect to its military organiza- 
tion. It' was by reason of the knowledge the Superin- 
tendent gained abroad, however, that a notable innova- 
tion in military instruction in this country was 

In 1854, Captain Raleigh E. Colston, V. M. I., 
1846, Assistant Professor, had been appointed Pro- 
fessor of a new chair of French, History, and Political 
Economy, with rank of major. A Chair of Military 
Strategy was now created, and Major Colston was as- 
signed to fill it. This was, as far as the writer can 
determine, the first chair of the kind created in any 
institution of learning in America, and no such ad- 
vanced instruction in the miUtary science existed else- 
where, even at the United States Military Academy. 

In this new work. Major Colston displayed the most 
marked ability, giving many evidences of that know- 
ledge of the theory of war, which enabled him to attain 
high distinction as a brigadier-general of the Confeder- 
acy, and later to become the military adviser of the 
Khedive of Egypt whose army he reorganized after the 
War between the States. 

Among the military men who served on the Board of 
Visitors during this period, besides those already 
mentioned, were General Francis M. Boykin, Colonel 
Wilham B. Tahaferro, Colonel Samuel F. Hays, Major 
Samuel V. Fulkerson, Colonel Benjamin Rush Floyd, 
Colonel Augustine J. Smith, Colonel James L. Kemper, 
Colonel A. Hughes Dillard, Colonel James H. Paxton, 
Colonel Samuel Downing, and Captain S. B. Gibbons. 
Colonel Tahaferro became the senior mihtary officer of 
Virginia before the outbreak of the war, with rank of 
Major- General, Virginia Volimteers. 

In 1858, Captain Stapleton Crutchfield, V- M. I., 
1855, was appointed Adjunct Professor of Mathe- 
matics. Up to the time of their promotion, both Colston 
and Crutchfield had served at the Institute as tactical 

The Virginia Military Institute 101 

To the high character of the sub-faculty and tactical 
officers of the Institute much of the efficiency of the 
Corps has always been due, a fact that is readily 
understood by one famihar with the importance of an 
able staff. 

Upon the tactical staff of Major Gilham, during the 
fifteen years previous to the war, were to be f oimd many 
young officers afterwards prominent in the mihtary ser- 
vice of the Confederacy. A list of the tactical officers 
during that period, with the positions attained by them 
in the service, or in civil life, is here given. 

J. Q. Marr, 1846; member Secession Convention, 1861; 
Lieutenant-Colonel Virginia Infantry, C. S. A. ; killed in battle. 

M. E. Colston, 1846; Brigadier-General, C. S. A. 

E. E. Rodes, 1848; Major-General, C. S. A.; killed in battle. 

J. S. Gamble, 1848; Principal Norfolk Academy; died in 1857. 

James W. Massie, 1849; Lieutenant-Colonel 51st Va. Reg., 
C. S. A. 

James W. Allen, 1849; Colonel 2nd Va. Reg., C. S. A.; killed 
in battle. 

Wm. D. Stuart, 1860; Colonel 56th Va. Reg., C. S. A.; killed 
in battle. 

W. W. Gordon, 1850; Colonel 27th Va. Reg., C. S. A. 

Daniel Trueheart, 1850; Major and Chief of Artillery, C. S. A., 
Jackson's Corps. 

Thomas A. Harris, 1851 ; Major and Surgeon, C. S. A. 

Henry A. Whiting, 1852; Major and Inspector General Rodes's 
Staff, C. S. A. 

G. H. Smith, 1853; Colonel 62d Va. Reg., C. S. A. 

E. V. Bargamin, 1855; Physician; died in France, 1860. 
W. T. Patton, 1855; Colonel 7th Va. Reg., C. S. A.; killed in 


L. B. Williams, 1855; Colonel 1st Va. Reg., C. S. A.; killed in 

F. W. Smith, 1856; Lieutenant-Colonel Artillery, C. S. A.; 
killed in battle. 

J. H. Lane, 1856; Brigadier-General, C. S. A. 

P. B. Stanard, 1856; Major of Ordnance, C. S. A. 

G. M. Edgar, 1856; Lieutenant-Colonel 26th Va. Reg., C. S. A. 
John McCausland, 1857; Brigadier-General, C. S. A. 

B. F. Stewart, 1857; Captain, C. S. A.; killed in battle. 
P. P. Slaughter, 1857; Colonel 56th Va. Reg., C. S. A. 
R. M. Mayo, 1857; Colonel 47th Va. Reg., C. S. A. 
W. H. Otey, 1859; Captain Cavalry, C. S. A. 

102 The Military History of 

J. H. Chenoweth, 1859; Major 31st Va. Reg., C. S. A.; killed 
in battle. 

J. D. H. Ross, 1859; Lieutenant-Colonel 52d Va. Reg., C. S. A. 

Scott Shipp, 1859; Lieutenant-Colonel 21st Va. Reg., C. S. A. 

J. G. Miller, 1860; Lieutenant, C. S. A.; Professor Baltimore 
City College. 

A. S. Scott, 1860; Captain Cavalry, C. S. A. 

Edward Cunningham, Jr., 1860; Major Engineers, C. S. A. 

Thomas M. Semmes, 1860; Lieutenant and Adjutant Arkansas 
Infantry, C. S. A. 

Marshall McDonald, 1860; Captain Infantry, C. S. A.; first 
U. S. Fish Commissioner. 

William A. Smith, 1861; Captain and Assistant Adjutant-Gen- 
eral, C. S. A. 

One can not fail to be impressed by such a record. 
In this hst of 33 tactical officers of the Institute, in a 
period of fifteen years, there are numbered 1 Major- 
General, 8 Brigadier-Generals, 8 Colonels, 6 Lieu- 
tenant-Colonels, 6 Majors, 5 Captains, and 2 Lieu- 
tenants. There are but two civilians, who both died 
before the war — one a physician and one a college pro- 
fessor. Nine of the number were killed in battle, and 
one was a member of the Secession Convention, and one 
the first Fish Commissioner of the United States, after 
the war. 

In the Bill of Rights of Virginia, George Mason 
wrote: "A well regulated militia composed of the body 
of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, 
and safe defense of a free State." Recognizing that 
great truth the Legislature of 1857-8 undertook, at 
the instance of the people, to reorganize the militia 
which had been practically disbanded. Immediately the 
graduates of the Institute were called into service to 
assist in the work and as Inspectors, especially, greatly 
aided the Adjutant-General; but it took time to create 
more than a skeleton organization in a State where little 
attention had been paid to the mihtary establishment 
for four decades or more. 

Hardly had the movement to regenerate the citizen 
soldiery gotten under way, when an incident portentous 
of the future occurred, and one upon which the writer 
is able to throw very little light. It may be that sub- 

The Virginia Military Institute 103 

sequent research among the archives of the State will 
disclose more facts than can now be given. At any 
rate it is a well estabhshed fact that in the fall of 1858, 
secret orders were received by the Superintendent to 
double the guard at the Institute for the protection of 
the Arsenal and to issue ball cartridges to the cadets. 
The Governor, it seems, had information of a plot for 
the arming of a number of negroes at the Pewe Iron 
Works near Lexington, and the seizure of the arms in 
the Arsenal with which to start a servile insurrection 
among the slaves in Virginia.* 

The Governor's orders were strictly carried out, but 
no uprising occurred. The supposed plan was almost 
identical with the one which John Brown sought to 
execute the following year, and it may be the Governor's 
alarm was not without foundation. 

In the fall of 1859 an event transpired which may be 
assigned as a prelusive incident of the War between the 
States, for from the time of its occurrence even the 
most conservative people of the South began to prepare 
for the conflict. 

On the night of Sunday, October 16, 1859, John 
Brown, the arch-abohtionist, advanced with a party of 
twenty-two men upon Harper's Ferry, Virginia, and 
seized the United States Armory and Arsenal estab- 
lished there. Throughout the next day, he held posses- 
sion of the town, and committed the most atrocious acts 
of murder and destruction. It was his expectation that 
the negro slaves of the section, among whom his emis- 
saries had been active for many months, would rise en 
masse and massacre the white population; but not one 
joined his force. 

It was the afternoon of the 17th, when intelligence 
of the event reached Richmond; and, within ten minutes 
after its receipt. Governor Wise had ordered Colonel 
John Thomas Gibson, of Charles Town, commanding 
the mihtia regiment of the Harper's Ferry District, to 
mobilize his regiment. Similar instructions were tele- 

'Letter of M. C. Ellzey, V. M. I., 1860, to Col. Jos. E. Anderson, Historiog- 

104 The Military History of 

graphed Colonel Robert W. Baylor, of the Third Regi- 
ment of Militia Cavalry. 

The miUtary system of the State was still utterly in- 
efficient, having nothing but a skeleton organization. 
Regiments were organized on paper, by districts, and 
only the few companies in the larger towns had yet been 
actually recruited and armed. The volunteer company 
of Charles Town, however, had assembled at the first 
notice of the invasion, and, by prompt action, had cut oflp 
Brown's expected reinforcements, and prevented his 

A number of companies of the First Virginia Regi- 
ment, stationed in Richmond, left that city Monday 
night on an hour's notice, for Washington, en route to 
the scene of the trouble, but, upon arriving there, 
learned that a body of United States Marines, under the 
command of Colonel Robert E. Lee, had proceeded to 
Harper's Ferry, and on Tuesday morning had battered 
down the doors of the Engine House in which Brown 
and his followers had barricaded themselves against the 
militia force, and had captured the murderers, along 
with their chief. 

It was one o'clock p. m.^ when the Governor, with the 
troops from Richmond, arrived at Harper's Ferry. He 
immediately ordered the prisoners to be incarcerated 
in Charles Town, and established a force there as a 

The general public in and around Harper's Ferry 
was in no condition to give quarter to Brown, or any 
of his men ; still, it is most creditable to Virginia that the 
infuriated people were willing to let the law take its 
course with the assassins who had assailed them while 
in their beds, and sought to instigate servile insurrection 
in their midst. They had absolute confidence in the 
ability of Captain John Avis to hold them in jail, es- 
pecially when aided by the militia, and knew that a 
speedy trial would result. 

The people were not idle, however, while they awaited 
the trial. Rumors of all kinds were rife. There was a 

The Virginia Military Institute 105 

general belief that Brown would never have undertaken 
so perilous and impossible a task without assurance of 
reinforcements, either of organized slaves, or aboli- 
tionists from the North; and the behef that a rescue 
would be attempted was well-nigh imiversal. Brown 
himself expected to be rescued. 

These conditions caused the citizens to arm them- 
selves, and the Governor to keep the State troops con- 
stantly in readiness, and a part of them actually on 
guard in Charles Town; so that from the time of 
Brown's capture the town had the appearance of a mili- 
tary camp. 

The preliminary examination was held October 25, 
1857. The early morning foimd the Court-house safe 
from any attempt to release the prisoners. Cannon 
were posted before it, and every approach was guarded 
by the troops. Brown's covmsel had not then been 
selected by him; so Colonel Davenport, the presiding 
justice assigned Hon. Chas. J. Faulkner, a member of 
the Board of Visitors of the Institute from 1848 to 1851, 
and Lawson Botts, Esq., an Sieve of the Institute, as 
temporary counsel for the defense.* The next day, the 
Grand Jury returned a true bill against the prisoners 
for treason, advising and conspiring with slaves and 
others to rebel, and for murder, — each offense punish- 
able with death. 

The trial proceeded without delay. Until the fourth 
day of the trial. Brown was represented by Messrs. 
Green, Botts, and Hoyt; but on the 29th of October, 
Messrs. Chilton and Griswold, eminent counsel from the 
North, selected by Brown's friends, appeared and con- 
ducted the defense. The Court adjourned that day un- 
til Monday, the 31st, when a verdict in the following 
words was returned: "We, the jury, find the defendant, 
John Brown, the prisoner at the bar, guilty of treason, 
advising and conspiring with slaves and others to rebel, 
and for murder in the first degree." "Signed by J. C. 
Wiltshire, Foreman." 

*Mr. Faulkner declined to act as such, and Thomas C. Green was sub- 
stituted for Mm. 

106 The Military History of 

November 2d, Brown was again brought into Court, 
when Judge Parker cahnly sentenced him to be hanged 
on the 2d day of December, 1859, by the Sheriff of 
Jefferson County, "not in the jail yard, but at such 
other place in the county, convenient, as the said Sheriff 
might select," 

Meantime, the Governor not only held the militia 
already there on guard, but directed other troops to as- 
semble at Charles Town for the execution. 

One may well imagine the interest which all these 
proceedings excited in Lexington. The cadets magni- 
fied the dangers a thousand-fold, and the wildest rumors 
were current at the Institute. The papers from the 
North gave long accounts of the sympathetic feeling for 
Brown and his band of assassins on the part of the 
abolitionists in that quarter, and the cadets fully be- 
lieved that any day they might be ordered out to assist 
in repelling an invasion. 

Orders of a different nature, however, soon arrived. 
Major-General William B. Taliaferro, commanding 
the Virginia Volunteers, formerly President of the 
Board of Visitors, was directed by the Governor to 
mobilize the militia at Charles Town; and the Superin- 
tendent of the Institute was ordered to dispatch a de- 
tachment from the Corps of Cadets to that point as the 
personal escort of the Governor. Colonel Smith him- 
self was designated to superintend the execution. Thus, 
the Institute was to play a prominent part in an event 
of great national moment, the effect of which on the 
Corps can hardly be hinted at. 

The Cadet command ordered by Colonel Smith to 
Charles Town late in November consisted of a detach- 
ment from the infantry battaUon of 64 cadets organized 
as two companies, under Major Gilham, with Lieu- 
tenants McCausland, Otey, and Shipp comprising the 
tactical staff, and the howitzer section manned by 21 
cadets. Major Jackson in command, and Lieutenant 
Trueheart attached.* 

•Daniel Trueheart was afterwards Major and Chief of Artillery, Army of 
the Valley, Major-General T. J. Jackson commanding. The Corps numbered 
161 cadets in 1859-60. 

The Virginia Military Institute 107 

Majors Preston and Colston, Major E. L. Graham, 
Surgeon, and Captain J. T. Gibbs, Commissary of the 
Institute, comprised the staff of Colonel Smith. 

The cadets reached Charles Town November 26th, 
via Washington. 

The best accotint of the execution known to the writer 
was prepared, the evening of December 2d, by Major 
Preston, and it is here given practically in its entirety, 
as of especial interest to the Institute : 

"The execution is over; we have just returned from 
the fields, and I have sat down to give you an account 
of it. The weather was very favorable; the sky was a 
httle overcast, with a gentle haze in the atmosphere that 
softened, without obscuring, the magnificent prospect 
afforded here. Between eight and nine o'clock, the 
troops began to put themselves in motion to occupy the 
positions assigned them on the field, as designated on 
the plan I send you. To Colonel Smith had been as- 
signed the superintendence of the execution, and he and 
his staff were the only mounted officers on the ground, 
until the Major-General and his staff appeared. By 
one o'clock all was arranged; the general effect was im- 
posing, and, at the same time, picturesque. The cadets 
were immediately in rear of the gallows, a howitzer on 
the right and left, a little behind, so as to sweep the 
field. The cadets were uniformed in red flannel shirts 
which gave them a gay, dashing, zouave look, and were 
exceedingly becoming, especially the battery. They 
were flanked obliquely by two corps, the Richmond 
Grays and Company F, which, inferior in appearance 
to the cadets, were superior to any other companies I 
ever saw outside of the regular army. Other companies 
were distributed over the field, amoimting in all to about 
800 men. The mihtary force was about 1,500. 

"The whole enclosure was lined by cavalry troops 
posted as sentinels, with their ofiicers — one on a peerless 
black horse, and another on a remarkable-looking white 
horse, continually dashing round the enclosure. Out- 
side this enclosure, were other companies, acting as 

108 The Militahy History of 

rangers and scouts. The jail was guarded by several 
companies of infantry, and pieces of artillery were put 
in position for its defense. 

"Shortly before eleven o'clock, the prisoner was taken 
from the jail, and the funeral cortege was put in motion. 
First, came three companies, then, the criminal's wagon, 
drawn by two large white horse. John Brown was 
seated on his coffin, accompanied by the sheriff and two 
other persons. The wagon drove to the foot of the 
gallows, and Brown descended with alacrity, and with- 
out assistance, and ascended the steep steps to the plat- 
form. His demeanor was intrepid, without being 
braggart. He made no speech; whether he desired to 
make one or not, I do not know. Had he desired it, it 
would not have been permitted. Any speech of his 
must, of necessity, have been imlawful, and as being 
directed against the peace and dignity of the Common- 
wealth, and as such could not be allowed by those who 
were then engaged in the most solemn and extreme 
vindication of law. His manner was without trepida- 
tion, but his countenance was not free from concern; 
and it seemed to me to have a little cast of wildness. He 
stood upon the scaffold but a short time, giving brief 
adieus to those about him, when he was properly 
pinioned, the white cap drawn over his face, the noose 
adjusted and attached to the hook above, and he was 
moved bhndfold a few steps forward. It was curious 
to note how the instincts of nature operated to make 
him careful in putting out his feet as if afraid he would 
walk off the scaffold. The man who stood unblanched 
on the brink of eternity was afraid of falling a few feet 
to the ground! 

"He was now all ready. The sheriff asked him if he 
should give a private signal before the fatal moment. 
He replied in a voice that seemed to me to be un- 
naturally natural, so composed was its tone, and so 
distinct its articulation, 'that it did not matter to him, 
if only they would not keep him too long waiting.' He 
was kept waiting, however. The troops that had formed 

The Virginia Military Institute 109 

his escort had to be put into their position, and while 
this was going on, he stood for some ten or fifteen 
minutes blindfold, the rope around his neck, and his 
feet on the treacherous platform, expecting instantly the 
fatal act. But he stood for this comparatively long 
time upright as a soldier in position, and motionless. I 
was close to him and watched him narrowly to see if I 
could perceive any signs of shrinking, or trembling, in 
his person, but there was none. Once, I thought I saw 
his knees tremble, but it was only the wind blowing his 
loose trousers. His firmness was subjected to still 
further trial by hearing Colonel Smith annoimce to the 
sheriff, 'We are all ready, Mr. Campbell.' The sheriff 
did not hear, or did not comprehend; and in a louder 
tone the same announcement was made. But the culprit 
still stood steady until the sheriff, descending the flight 
of steps, with a well-directed blow, of a sharp hatchet, 
severed the rope that held up the trap door, which 
instantly sank sheer beneath him, and he fell about three 
feet; and the man of strong and bloody hand, of fierce 
passions, of iron will, of wonderful vicissitudes, the 
terrible partisan of Kansas, the capturer of the United 
States Arsenal at Harper's Ferry, the would-be Cati- 
line of the South, the demi-god^ of the abolitionists, the 
man execrated and lauded, damned and prayed for, the 
man who in his motives, his means, his plans, and his 
successes, must ever be a wonder, a puzzle, and a 
mystery, — ^John Brown — was hanging between heaven 
and earth. 

"There was profound stillness during the time his 
struggles continued, growing feebler and feebler at each 
abortive attempt to breathe. His knees were scarcely 
bent, his arms were drawn up to a right-angle at the 
elbow, with the hands clenched; but there was no writh- 
ing of the body, no violent heaving of the chest. At 
each feebler effort at respiration, his arms sank lower, 
and his legs himg more relaxed, vmtil, at last, straight 
and lank he dangled, swayed to and fro by the wind. 

110 The Military History of 

"It was a moment of deep solemnity, and suggestive 
of thoughts that make the bosom swell. The field of 
execution was a rising ground, and commanded the out- 
stretching Valley from mountain to mountain, and their 
still grandeur gave sublimity to the outline, while it so 
chanced that white clouds resting upon them gave them 
the appearance that reminded more than one of us of 
the snow-peaks of the Alps. Before was the greatest 
array of disciplined forces ever seen in Virginia, in- 
fantry, cavalry and artillery combined, composed of the 
old Commonwealth's noblest sons, and commanded by 
her best officers; and the great canopy of the sky over- 
arching all, came to add its subhmity, ever-present, but 
only realized when other great things are occurring 
beneath each. 

"But the moral of the scene was its grand point. A 
sovereign State had been assailed, and she had uttered 
but a hint, and her sons had hastened to show that they 
were ready to defend her. Law had been violated by 
actual murder and attempted treason, and that gibbet 
was erected by law, and to uphold law was this military 
force assembled. But, greater still — God's Holy Law 
and righteous Providence was vindicated, 'Thou shalt 
not kill' — 'whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall 
his blood be shed.' And, here, the gray-haired man of 
violence meets his fate, after he has seen his two sons 
cut down before him, in the same career of violence into 
which he had introduced them. So perish all such 
enemies of Virginia! all such enemies of the Union! 
all such foes of the human race! So, I felt, and, so, I 
said, with solemnity, and without one shade of 
animosity, as I turned to break the silence, to those 
around me. Yet the mystery was awful, — to see the 
human form thus treated by men, — to see life suddenly 
stopped in its current, and to ask one's self the question, 
without answer. 'And what then?' 

"In all that array there was not, I suppose, one throb 
of sympathy for the offender. All felt in the depths of 
their heart that it was right. On the other hand, there 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 111 

was not one single word or gesture of exultation, or of 
insult. From the beginning to the end, all was marked 
by the most absolute decorum and solemnity. There 
was no military music, no saluting by troops as they 
passed one another, or anything done for show. The 
criminal hung upon the gallows for nearly forty 
minutes; and, after being examined by a whole staff 
of surgeons, his body was deposited in a neat coffin 
to be delivered to his friends, and transported to 
Harper's Ferry, where his wife awaited it. She came 
in company with two persons to see her husband last 
night, and returned to Harper's Ferry this morning. 
She is described by those who saw her as a very large, 
masculine woman, of absolute composure. The officers 
who witnessed their meeting in the jail said they met 
as if nothing unusual had taken place, and had a com- 
fortable supper together. 

"There was a very small crowd to witness the execu- 
tion. Governor Wise and General TaUaferro had both 
issued proclamations, exhorting the citizens to remain 
at home and guard their property, and warned them of 
possible danger. The train on the Winchester Rail- 
road had been stopped from carrying passengers and 
even passengers on the Baltimore Railroad were sub- 
jected to examination and detention. An arrangement 
was made to divide the expected crowd into recognized 
citizens and those not recognized ; to require the former 
to go to the right, and the latter to the left. Of the 
latter, there was not a single one. It was told last 
night there were not in Charles Town ten persons be- 
sides citizens and military. 

"There is but one opinion as to the completeness of 
the arrangements made on the occasion, and the abso- 
lute success with which they were carried out. I have 
said nothing about the striking effect of the pageant, as 
a pageant; but the excellence of it was that everything 
was arranged solely with the view of efficiency, and not 
for effect upon the eye. Had it been intended as a mere 
spectacle, it could not have been made more imposing; 

112 The Military History of 

or, had actual need occurred, it was the best possible 

A number of amusing incidents in connection with 
the Corps occurred at Charles Town. "Grand Rounds" 
was a vicious and sensational performance which general 
officers occasionally indulged in. It consisted of the Gen- 
eral visiting all portions of his command at an unex- 
pected hour, in order to satisfy himself that everything 
was in order and the guards were on the qui vive. Soon 
after the arrival of the Corps, General Tahaferro with 
an imposing staff undertook to make the "Grand 
Rounds," and for some reason the Cadet Guard was 
not as prompt in turning out as it should have been. 
The General made some adverse criticism of what he 
deemed to be laxity, which was very mortifying to the 
Corps. Lieutenants McCausland and Shipp deter- 
mined that this would not occur again, and it so 
happened that when the next "Grand Rounds" were 
made, Lieutenant Shipp, the tactical officer in charge, 
had the Cadet Guard thoroughly instructed and turned 
it out in the promptest manner. The Major- General 
commanding was greatly pleased, and, inquiring the 
name of the young officer responsible for the instruction 
of the guard, caused him to be detailed to duty at the 
jail where John Brown was imprisoned. 

The press was very sensational at this time, and the 
wildest rumors were circulated. People had visions of 
a hostile force sweeping down upon Charles Town at 
any moment. Where it was to come from, or how it 
was to get there, gave them little concern. 

The cadet section of artillery was posted so as to 
sweep a certain approach, and Major Jackson gave 
Lieutenant Trueheart the most detailed instructions as 
to what kind of ammunition to use under various con- 
tingencies, even directing how the fuzes should be cut, 
should the enemy advance in this or in that direction! 

Now it is doubtful if Jackson had any more idea that 
an enemy would assail Charles Town than the other 
officers of the Corps had, but the explicit nature of his 

The Vikginia Military Institute 113 

preparations shows that he was unwilling to be sur- 
prised, or found unprepared, in the most remote 

It is also related of Jackson that, while the Corps was 
in Washington, en route to Harper's Ferry, he placed 
his money in his stockings, which in turn he concealed 
beneath his pillow upon retiring at the hotel. The next 
morning he was unable to find his stockings, so donned 
a fresh pair. It was not until on the way to the depot, 
at the head of his battery, that he missed his money. 
Halting his command in the middle of Pennsylvania 
Avenue, he returned to the hotel where he recovered 
both his money and his stockings. 

There is another incident connected with the service of 
the cadets at Charles Town, which is so full of moral 
force and beauty that the writer can not refrain from re- 
cording it here, to rescue it from oblivion. A widowed 
mother had four sons with the military at Charles Town 
— ^three of them cadets. November 29, 1860, she wi-ote 
them as follows: 

"My dear Boys — To think you are in camp, preparing for war, 
and civil war, too ! What a calamity ! Yet I would not recall you 
if I could. I believe this is the hour of trial to all who love the 
Old Dominion, and I would not have one of my sons prove recreant 
to his native state. I have given you up cheerfully to God, and 
prayed His protecting care, and my trust is in Him to preserve and 
bring you back safely. I write to tell you that we have an eye 
turned upon you, and that our prayers go up for you. 

"God bless you! God bless you! and keep you in the hollow of 
His hand, 

"Prays your 


With such mothers, the tyrant will never conquer the 
spirit of, though he may subdue, Virginia. 

*The foregoing incidents were related to the writer by General Shipp. 

114 The Military History of 



The day after the execution of John Brown, the 
Corps accompanied Governor Wise to Richmond, via 
Washington, on his fifty-third birthday, December 3d. 
The Governor was immensely proud of the Corps, and 
wished to return to the capital, escorted by the gallant 
detail of cadets which had served as his body-guard 
during the most trying event of his public career. Their 
presence in Richmond, at such a time, was a fitting 
representation to the excited populace of the majesty of 
Virginia, which they had but recently assisted in vindi- 

While in Richmond, the artillery section, under 
Major Jackson, executed an interesting drill for the 
people in the Capitol Square. December 10th the 
cadets reached Lexington, after their fourth visit to 
the capital of the State. 

The Governor, and the authorities of the Institute, 
well knew that the display of the Corps at such a time 
would advertise the Institute, and attract the attention 
of many to the means of providing military training 
for the youth of the State, and they were not 
disappointed in the results, for many applications 
for entrance were immediately received by the 

One of the first official acts of Governor Wise, after 
the execution of John Brown, was to order the Superin- 
tendent to detail a competent officer of the Institute to 
prepare a Manual of Tactics for the volunteers and 
militia of Virginia. This task was promptly assigned to 
Major GiUiam, Commandant of Cadets. 

Perhaps no more difficult or important task could 
have been assigned an officer at this time. Drill regu- 
lations for all branches of the service were in a generally 
chaotic state, and even in the United States Army seven 

The Virginia Military Institute 115 

texts were in use and none were satisfactory. No gen- 
eral Manual for the three arms existed. 

Major Gilham was not slow to perceive the oppor- 
tunity presented him, and addressed himself to the work 
in hand with characteristic energy. The result was, that 
by December, 1860 (or within a year), he published 
a miUtary work entitled, "Manual of Instruction for the 
Volxmteers and Militia." 

This work was a distinct contribution to the military 
art as practised in America. It comprehended army 
organization, arms and ammunition, field service, staff 
duty, conduct of battles, military law and procedure, 
besides drill regulations for the Infantry, Artillery and 
Cavalry. The treatment of many of these subjects in 
such form was highly novel, and at once made available 
a Manual for the American soldier, dealing with every 
phase of instruction and not merely with formal drill. 

The excellence of the work is attested by the fact 
that it was promptly adopted by the United States War 
Department to succeed Hardee's Tactics, and to sup- 
ply the want of a more general treatise which had been 
so long experienced, but upon the outbreak of the war 
in 1861, GiUiam's Manual was supplanted in the 
Federal Army by Casey's Tactics. It was at once 
adopted, however, by the Confederate States Army, 
and formed the basis of instruction for all arms 
throughout the war. 

Thus, did the Institute contribute not only a host of 
gallant ofiicers to the Southern cause, but also the 
system of training and instruction of the Confederate 
Army. It should ever be a matter of pride to the School 
that the frontispage of the Confederate Tactics read: 




Confederate States, 





116 The Military History of 

But Gilham's great work was not the sole contribution 
of the Institute to the mihtary science of the time, as we 
shall see. 

The treasonable acts of John Brown, and the wide- 
spread sympathy displayed in the North for that law- 
less character, forewarned the South that war was 
inevitable. The General Assembly of Virginia was, 
therefore, admonished to provide for the defense of the 
State. As early as November, 1859, the Board of Visi- 
tors of the Institute submitted to the Legislature a copy 
of its report to the Governor, the previous June. The 
preamble read: 

"Actuated by these considerations, the Board of 
Visitors feel it to be their duty to urge upon Your Ex- 
cellency, and beg that Your . Excellency will enforce 
upon the General Assembly the importance and ex- 
pediency of granting the inconsiderable, yet essential, 
aid from the State, which may enable the Institute to 
satisfy the pressing public wants and reasonable 

The report contained many references to the im- 
minence of war, and the duty of the State to prepare 
for the inevitable. 

The result of such warning was an elaborate measure, 
contained in the Act of January 21, 1860, providing 
for the Public Defense, and appropriating the sum of 
$500,000.00 for the purchase of arms and equipment; 
and the Governor was authorized to appoint com- 
missioners to make the purchases. 

March 28th, another Act was passed, reciting that "it 
appearing further that the Corps of Cadets, in the 
course of their regular military education, may readily 
be employed to prepare mimitions of war, as may be 
demanded by the wants of the State : 

"I. Be it enacted, etc., etc." 

The special enactment was the appropriation of the 
sum of $20,000.00 for the erection of new buildings. 

The Virginia Military Institute 117 

It was at this time, also, that all the officers of the 
Virginia Mihtary Institute were constituted a part of 
the mihtary estahlishment of the State, subject to the 
orders of the Governor who was authorized to issue com- 
missions to the Professors, Assistant Professors, and 
other officers, according to the rank prescribed by the 
regulations of the Institute. Such commissions con- 
ferred no rank in the active militia, however. The 
Board of Visitors, pursuant to this authority, fixed the 
mihtary rank of full professors as that of colonel; 
associate professors,' as heutenant-colonel ; adjunct 
professors, as major; and assistant professors as 
captain in the branch of the service in which they were 
required to give tactical instruction. From the first the 
Superintendent's rank had been fixed by law as colonel, 
and that of the Commandant as major of Engineers.* 

The Commission for the Public Defense consisted of 
Colonel Phihp St. George Cocke, Captain George W. 
Randolph, and Colonel Francis H. Smith. Randolph 
was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, 
and later became Secretary of War in the Confederate 
Cabinet. Cocke was now again President of the Board 
of Visitors of the Institute. 

So active was the commission appointed by the Gov- 
ernor, that additional appropriations aggregating 
$106,000.00 were made in March; and the Armory in 
Richmond having already been put in thorough condi- 
tion, steps were taken to secure the newest "machinery, 
implements and material" for its operation. The Com- 
mission was furthermore directed to purchase the 
patent rights of "newly invented arms," whenever the 
same could be secured; and the armament procured was 
to be distributed for immediate use in the more exposed 
parts of the State. These were drastic measures, and 
clearly show what was in the minds of the people of 

In all these proceedings, and those which followed 
in connection with the armament of Virginia, it is not 
difficult to trace the influence of the Institute. 

*The Act of 1859-60 was amended In 1912, giving officers of the Institute 
ranis in tlie Virginia Volunteers. 

118 The Military History of 

The able men constituting the Commission, whose 
mihtary training enabled them to grasp the seriousness 
of the situation, determined to visit the various arsenals 
of the coimtry, and to open negotiations with the fore- 
most manufacturers of arms in America, and abroad. 
They were accompanied by the recently-elected Gov- 
ernor, John Letcher, of Lexington, afterwards famous 
as the energetic War Governor. Their tour embraced 
visits to Spi'ingfield, Harper's Ferry, and the West 
Point Foimdry, at Cold Spring, on the Hudson. While, 
at the last-named place, they were invited by Cap- 
tain R. P. Parrott, one of the proprietors, a retired 
army officer and personal friend of Colonel Smith, to 
witness a series of experiments he was conducting with 
his new rifled field piece. The Ordnance Department 
of the Army had been slow to grasp the importance of 
Parrott's invention, just as it had declared the per- 
cussion cap interesting, but only as a toy, — not many 
years before; and Parrott had up to this time failed 
to secure the adoption of his gun.* 

But the Virginians did not hesitate. The effect of 
the fire of Parrott's ordnance, which they witnessed 
from behind epaulments, convinced the commission of 
the superiority of the rifled gun over any ordnance they 
had seen; and Colonel Smith was instructed to invite 
the inventor to send one gun and 100 shells to the Insti- 
tute to be thoroughly tested by Major Jackson, In- 
structor of Ordnance and Artillery Tactics. 

Captain Parrott assented to the suggestion, and the 
gun was received at the Institute, July 5, 1860. Major 
Jackson caused a number of tent flies to be set up as 
targets, on the ridge across the river, north of the Insti- 
tute, and, manning the new piece with a detail from his 
artillery class, gave it a most thorough trial. 

The accuracy and the range of the gun were found 
to be astonishing, and the report of Major Jackson led 
to the immediate purchase by the commission of twelve 

*It was not until November 1st, 1860, tliat an experimental board recom- 
mended the conversion of fifty per cent, of the guns at the forts and arsenals i 
but even then little attention was paid to rifled field pieces. 

The Virginia Military Institute 119 

more rifled field pieces, with a large supply of shells 
therefor. These guns were first used, and with great 
effect, at the battle of Big Bethel, June 10, 1861, and 
the reputation they there acquired led to the general 
introduction of the Parrott field piece into the artillery 
of both armies.* 

Distinguished witnesses of the range practice with 
the new piece in Lexington were Major D. H. Hill, 
and the Rev. William Nelson Pendleton, both of whom 
we have previously had occasion to refer to. Major 
Hill was still professor at Washington College, and 
Dr. Pendleton had been called to Lexington as the 
Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, in October, 1853. 
Both of these gentlemen had formerly served in the 
United States Artillery, and were, therefore, not dis- 
interested spectators of Major Jackson's tests. 

Jackson had at once grasped the situation. Being 
an artillery expert, he appreciated the great possibilities 
of rifled field pieces. The results he had obtained with 
the Parrott gim on the Institute range were startling 
to him, as well as to all those who had been accustomed 
to smooth bore guns the greatest range of which was 
from 1,800 to 2,000 paces. Even when firing at 1,000 
paces, the result with the old guns had been so doubt- 
ful that gunners generally (as said by Hohenlohe) 
acted on the proverb: "The first shot is for the devil, 
the second for God, and only the third is for the King," 
that is to say, that at such a range only one-third of the 
shot would hit a target six feet high and fifty yards 

Jackson could have been little influenced by such 
rimaors as may have sifted across the Atlantic be- 
fore his own trial of the Parrott gun. His nature was 
not one which allowed him to be influenced by less than 
the most tangible knowledge, or experience. That the 
Americans knew little of European progress with rifling 
is again borne out by the fact that General Johnston, 
though frantic in his efforts to secure ordnance for his 

*Durlng the Civil War the West Point Foundry furnished the U. S. 
Government with 1,200 guns and 3,000,000 projectiles. 

120 The Military History of 

field artillery, wrote his Chief of Artillery in Rich- 
mond,* after the battle of Bull Run, "Do not fail to 
urge the making of 12-pounder howitzers. I have faith 
in them. Let them send guns and equipment, and leave 
us to organize. I enclose a requisition for equipment of 
a battery of rifles, which can not be filled here (Manas- 
sas). Will you see if the authorities in Richmond can 
do it? Do not, however, let them prefer it to the fitting 
out of field-batteries of smooth bore guns." 

In the light of the present day, it seems strange that 
so great a soldier, especially distinguished for his ability 
as an organizer, and for his military learning, should 
have failed to appreciate the lessons of Bethel, empha- 
sized by current report. Masked batteries and rifled 
guns were subjects of common talk among the 
soldiery, and especially in the press of the time. 
McDowell's men had heard so much of these terrible 
things that they marched into Virginia, imagining them 
to crown every crest. The explanation hes in the fact 
that Johnston's experience had not so far brought him 
into personal familiarity with the new invention, al- 
ready well known to Jackson and Pendleton, both of 
whom had first-hand knowledge of the new gun, through 
personal experience with it in Lexington, the previous 
year. Having staked his professional reputation, as it 
were, on his favorable report of the Parrott invention, 
Jackson was of course only confirmed in his views by 
the events of Bethel, and the subsequent accounts of the 

On the 10th of August, General Johnston wrote to 
President Davis urging an increase of the Artillery 
Arm, to be armed and equipped by borrowing material 
from the States, or by casting guns, especially in Rich- 
mond, adding a particular request for 12-pounder howit- 
zers. Though thoroughly aware of the value of artil- 
lery, and attributing the success of the great Napoleon 
to its proper use, General Johnston had not yet realized 
the value of rifled ordnance, but when Pendleton be- 

•Col. Wm. N. Pendleton, later Chief of Artillery, A. N. V. 

The Virginia Military Institute 121 

came Chief of Artillery of Johnston's Army, he was 
soon able to enforce his views as to the new ordnance 
and overcome the prejudices of his commanding general. 

The United States War Department was not 
ignorant of the tests made of Parrott's gun at the Insti- 
tute, and the subsequent report of its own Board of 
Ordnance and Artillery officers was in its hands. Al- 
ready, it had received exaggerated accounts of the effect 
of rifled pieces at Bethel. Now came to its ears the 
story of Hainesville, confirming the sudden reversal of 
opinion, and reassuring the authorities that no mistake 
had been made in providing McDowell with a large 
number of rifled pieces for his impending invasion of 
Virginia. As to the sudden popularity of the new gun 
in the Confederate Army, it is only necessary to refer, 
by way of explanation, to the fact that the influence of 
Jackson extended throughout the South, hundreds of 
his pupils holding important offices in the Confederate 
armies, each one of them, we may be sure, hanging upon 
the words of their former tutor in arms, by this time 
become a "martial divinity" in their eyes. 

The Institute, then, through the President of the 
Board of Visitors, the Superintendent, and finally 
Major Jackson, was responsible in a large measure for 
the first practical use of rifled ordnance in war. 

Late in the year 1860, Robert Emmet Rodes, the un- 
successful candidate for the <;hair filled by Jackson 
in 1850, was appointed Professor of Civil Engineering 
and Applied Mechanics at the Institute, and granted 
a year's leave of absence to visit Europe, for the pur- 
pose of study. Before his leave expired, however, the 
war broke out; and, though carried to the day of his 
death, at Winchester in 1864, as a Major- General, on 
the rolls, he never actually served a single day at the 
Institute as a fuU professor. 

Important, in connection with the appointment of 
Colston and Rodes as professors, it is to be noted that 
the Institute no longer depended upon West Point for 
its officers, and that well before the war interrupted 

122 The Military History or 

the intimate relationship existing between the two 
schools, the Institute had begun to draw upon its own 
graduates for its skilled officers and teachers. In 1860, 
M. B. Hardin, of the Class of 1858, was appointed 
an adjunct-professor. 

Many distinguished men were invited to attend the 
final exercises in July, 1860, including Professor D. H. 
Mahan of the Military Academy, Captain George L. 
Blake of the Naval Academy, Commander T. T. 
Craven, and Commander J. A. Dahlgren of the Navy, 
all of whom except Captain Blake accepted the in- 
vitation. The Goveriior, accompanied by Colonel W. J. 
Hardee (subsequently Lieutenant- General, C. S. A.), 
Commandant of j^adets, U. S. M. A., also attended, and 
inspected the Corps. According to General T. T. Mim- 
ford. Colonel Hardee drilled the BattaUon, and to Ma- 
jor GiUiam pronovmced it as well drilled as his own, 
saying, "I was unable to give them a single command 
that they did not execute with precision." 

For many years, that is, since about 1855, Major 
Gilham had been deeply absorbed in the work of de- 
veloping a department of Physical Sciences at the Insti- 
tute, and the demands upon his time were excessive. 
With the passing of time, he had become more and 
more studious in his tastes, and devoted to scientific re- 
search. In view of these facts, the Board determined, 
late in 1860, to secure, if possible, another Commandant. 
While Colonel Smith was willing to have graduates of 
the Institute appointed to the faculty, he felt it wise to 
keep a West Pointer in the Commandant's Office, and 
again opened negotiations for a suitable officer. Under 
date of January 18, 1861, he received a letter from 
Major George H. Thomas, of the United States 
Cavalry, in which, referring to the position he had heard 
was to be offered an officer of the army, he said: "If not 
already filled, I will be under obligations if you will 
inform me what salary and allowances pertain to the 
situation, as, from present appearances, I fear it will 
soon be necessary for me to be looking for some means 
of support." 

The Virginia Military Institute 123 

At this time, Major Thomas was notoriously a 
States' Rights man, and professed the most sanguine 
loyalty to Virginia, and was undoubtedly casting about, 
as many officers of the army were, to provide for the 
future. Very naturally, he was desirous of securing a 
berth which would place him in a most favorable posi- 
tion in the event of war, which he had frequently fore- 
told. His apphcation for the position was doubtless 
due to Major Gilham, for between them a great friend- 
ship existed. But the apphcation of Major Thomas 
was not regarded with favor, and it soon became known 
that the Board would elect Captain Scott Shipp, an 
assistant professor, and graduate of the Institute of 
the Class of 1859, to succeed Gilham. 

Captain Shipp was on the point of resigning his 
office to study law at the University of Virginia, but 
was now urged to remain at the Institute; and even 
Gilham, who had before suggested Thomas, added his 
persuasions to those of others to keep Captain Shipp 
from carrying out his original intention. 

Knowing that Major Thomas was looking for a post 
of vantage, and wishing to do "Old Tom" a good turn, 
especially since he had failed to land the position at the 
Institute, Major Gilham later recommended his old 
friend to Governor Letcher whom he frequently visited 
in Lexington, and by whom he was constantly consulted, 
for appointment as Chief of Ordnance of Virginia. 
Governor Letcher, who was energetically organizing the 
State troops, was in need of just such a man, and hence 
the following letter : 

"New York Hotel, 12th March, 1861. 

"His Excellency, Governor John Letcher, 
"Richmond, Virginia. 

"Dear Sir — I received yesterday a letter from Major Gilham, 
of the Virginia Military Institute, dated the 9th inst., in reference 
to the position of Chief of Ordnance of the State, in which he 
informs me that you requested him to ask me if I would resign from 
the service, and, if so, whether that post would be acceptable to me ? 
As he requested me to make my reply to you direct, I have the honor 

124 The Military History of 

to state, after expressing my most sincere thanks for your very 
kind offer, that it is not my wish to leave the service of the United 
States, as long as it is honorable for me to remain in it; and, there- 
fore, as long as my native state, Virginia, remains in the Union, it 
is m,y purpose to rem,ain in the army, unless requested to perform 
duties alike repulsive to honor and humanity. 
"I am, very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"George H. Thomas, 

"Major U. S. Army." 

If Major Thomas did not mean to signify to Gov- 
ernor Letcher (by the words italicised by the author) 
that it was his desire to remain in the army at that time 
(more than a month before Virginia seceded), — but 
his pui'pose to remain in it only so long as his native 
State, Virginia, remained in the Union, — then, it is 
clear that human language is worthless to express hu- 
man purpose. When we consider this letter in con- 
nection with his voluntary application for the office of 
Commandant at the Institute, there can be no doubt of 
Major Thomas's intentions, as late as March, 1861. He 
remained in the Federal Army, as we all know, and 
was promoted to Major-General. That promotion was 
the bait of his loyalty; but he erred in grabbing it, for 
he was never fully trusted by the strangers among whom 
he remained, and, therefore, never given the opportuni- 
ties he might have had in the Southern army. 

There was always a large question mark after 
Thomas's name. Why did he remain in the Federal 
Army, after years of professing loyalty to the South? 
And then, too, we may rest assured his receptive at- 
titude, in the early spring of 1861, was known to other 
persons than Colonel Smith, Major Gilham, and Gov- 
ernor Letcher. 

It was also in 1860 that the Superintendent was 
directed by the Board to receive candidates for cadetship 
from other States, and immediately applications from 
the Southern States began to be received. 

That same year, the General Assembly passed a 
resolution providing for the removal of General Henry 

The Virginia Military Institute 125 

Lee's remains from Cumberland Island, Georgia, and 
their reinterment at the Virginia Military Institute. 
The advent of the war interfered with the execution of 
this plan. In 1913, they were removed to Lexington, 
pursuant to a resolution of the General Assembly of 
1912, and placed in a vault, beside those of his illustrious 
son, Robert Edward Lee, in the Chapel of Washington 
and Lee University. 

126 The Military History of 


"draw the sword and throw away the scabbard^' 

Whatever may have been the true contemporary 
estimate of Major Jackson, one thing is certain, — his 
interest in affairs became more apparent, his eyes a 
little brighter, his back, perhaps, straighter, and his 
step more agile, upon the near approach of war. The 
cadet gunners began to notice a firmer note in his voice, 
and all recalled his oft-repeated remark, now tran- 
scribed upon the cornice of the Chapel erected at the 
Institute in 1897 to his memory, "You Can Be What- 
ever You Resolve To Be." 

The growing discontent in the country, in the fall of 
1860 and the following winter, caused great excitement 
in the Corps. The newspapers were scanned with 
avidity in Barracks, and the accounts of mihtary 
preparations fired the cadets with an enthusiasm for 
war which youth, careless of consequences but longing 
for opportunities to win glory, alone can feel. 

After Lincoln's election, the New York Herald was 
the principal source of information from the North, and 
was read by Major Jackson with keen interest. One 
night he and his assistant were perusing the Herald in 
their section-room, neither having spoken for some 
time. "Major," inquired Lieutenant Cunningham, 
"would you like to see war?" 

Major Jackson stopped reading his paper, and for 
five minutes hung down his head before replying. He 
then looked up, and, in a low and deliberate tone, said: 
"Mr. Cunningham, as a Christian, I wouldn't hke to see 
war," and then raising his voice until it rang out like a 
bugle-call, with eye flashing and every fibre of his body 
tingling with excitement, added, "but as a soldier, sir, 
I would like to see war!"* 

♦This incident is related by General Henry T. Douglas, of New York and 
Virginia; to whom It was recounted by Major Cunningham, after the war. 

The Virginia Military Institute 127 

Nothing that could he said would indicate what must 
have heen the sentiments of the fiery cadets at this time, 
as well as the narration of this incident. How it must 
have inspired the Corps when it became known to them! 

Throughout the winter of 1860-61, a spirit of intense 
restlessness pervaded Barracks; at times the cadets be- 
came turbulent though never insubordinate. The ex- 
plosion of bombs and other disorders were of almost 
daily occurrence. The guard was increased and the 
penalty of dismissal promptly inflicted on all who were 
apprehended in the disorders, and finally the disturb- 
ances ceased for the time being, only to be followed by 
an incident of grave consequence. 

February 22, 1861, James W. Thomson, who met a 
gallant death at Sailor's Creek as a major of Horse 
Artillery, after four years of distinguished service in 
the Confederate Army, and D. Murray Lee, a son of 
Sidney Smith Lee, and a nephew of Robert E. Lee, 
both of whom were Fourth Classmen at the time, hoisted 
a secession flag at reveille on the tower of Barracks from 
which Old Glory usually fluttered in the breeze, beside 
the State flag on the other tower. Captain Lee has 
recently furnished me, through Captain Colonna, with a 
full description of the incident and a sketch of the seces- 
sion flag, which he and Thomson made with shoe black- 
ing, and a cadet issue sheet. In the center it displayed 
the Goddess of Liberty and the motto — Sic Semper 
Tyrannis. At the top appeared in bold letters — Hurrah 
for South Carolina.* 

As soon as the strange flag was discovered by the 
guard it was hauled down ; but, in the excitement it was 
recaptured by Thomson and Lee, and buried by them 
in the stove at the mihtary store. The bold escapade, 
the parties to which were imdiscovered, served to arouse 
intense enthusiasm in the Corps of Cadets for the cause 
of secession. There were not only many cadets present 
from the far South, but secession meant war, and the 
ardent youth of the Institute, who reckoned little of the 

'South Carolina had of course already seceded. Captain Lee served in the 
Confederate Navy under his father. Admiral Lee, 

128 The Military History of 

meaning of armed conflict between North and South, 
thirsted for adventure and largely supported that course 
most certain to yield them the opportunities they longed 

Another incident which made a deep impress upon 
the minds of the cadets, and which was later forcibly re- 
called to them, occurred in March, 1861. 

The Secession Ordinance of Virginia had not then 
been enacted, but on the 18th of April, the Confederacy 
had been born at Montgomery, with South Carolina, 
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas as constituent 
states of the New Sovereignty. 

The sentiment in the Corps was by this time almost 
overwhelmingly in favor of secession. Rockbridge 
County and Lexington were vehemently opposed to the 
withdrawal of Virginia from the Union. Members of 
the Corps were almost daily hoisting secession flags 
about the Institute, in spite of the vigorous efforts of 
the authorities to suppress such actions. At this time, 
a fine volunteer company, composed of young men of 
Lexington and vicinity, with Captain Sam Letcher, 
brother of the Governor at its head, was being regularly 
drilled on Saturdays, in the toAvn. It was announced 
that on a certain Saturday the cadets would raise a 
secession flag, and the volunteers the Stars and Stripes. 
This brought large numbers of people to town, most of 
whom came provided with arms. The Unionists were 
greatly in the majority, and after they had witnessed 
the cadets raise the Stars and Bars, they determined 
to have their own flag-raising. But by some means the 
partisans of secession bored holes in the pole provided 
by the Unionists and when it was raised the Union flag 
fell to the ground amid joyous expressions from the 
opposing party. 

Several onlookers were slightly injured by the falhng 
pole, and the leg of one man was broken. The imhappy 
issue of the affair greatly aggravated the more violent 
Unionists who at first attributed their misfortunes to the 
cadets, who, nevertheless, vehemently denied any part 
in the affair. 


Srl'EIlINTEN'DEXT 1 83!!-] 890 

The Virginia Military Institute 129 

The following Saturday, when the cadets as usual 
were allowed to visit Lexington, several of them became 
involved in a dispute with a party of armed moun- 
taineers who were openly in sympathy with the Union 
party. The dispute which arose over the flag incident 
soon developed into a fracas in which Cadet J. K. 
Thomson, and perhaps one other, were roughly handled 
by the countrymen. 

Upon the cadets reaching Barracks with bloody faces 
and uniforms, the rumor spread abroad that a cadet had 
been killed in Lexington by the Unionists. The alarm 
was at once sounded on the guard house drima, and in 
a few seconds Galloway, the First Captain of the Corps, 
rushed through the court-yard and sally-port, bran- 
dishing his sabre and calling in his commanding tones 
for the Corps to "Turn Out Under Arms." 

The response to Galloway's command was immediate. 
The cadets assembled at their usual posts, a detail was 
made to man two field guns, the companies called off, 
and the Battalion, fully armed and provided with ball 
cartridges hitherto issued to them, was led off in colunms 
of fours by Galloway toward Lexington by the custo- 
mary route leading over the parapet. Upon reaching 
the main road to the town the Battalion was formed in 
column of companies at full distance. Upon the head 
of the column reaching Governor Letcher's residence, 
just beyond the Institute reservation, a number of 
ofiicers who had been sitting on the porch endeavored 
to turn back the cadets, but they heeded only Gallo- 
way's commands to press on. At this juncture the 
Superintendent arrived, but failing to reach Galloway, 
and being tmf amiliar with the nature of the demonstra- 
tion, also failed in his efforts to disperse the cadets. 

The news had reached Lexington that the cadets 
were forming for an attack upon the town, filling the 
citizens with consternation, for they clearly foresaw 
what would be the consequence of an armed conflict be- 
tween the cadets and the rugged mountaineers and the 
other Unionists sympathizers, who were prepai-ing to 

130 The Military History or 

defend themselves if need be. Furthermore, in order to 
protect the citizens, the local volunteer company had 
been called out and stationed in a position to bar the 
progress of the cadets to the town. The situation was 
one of general misimderstanding on both sides, and was 
relieved in the very nick of time by a deputation of 
leading citizens who, investigating the causes of the 
disturbance, were able to assure the officers of the Insti- 
tute that no cadet had been killed. 

"Meanwhile, a tall, sinewy, well-formed man, with a 
slight stoop in his shoulders, large feet and hands, re- 
treating forehead, blue-grey eyes, straight nose, strong 
mouth and chin held well to the front, appeared on the 
scene. In measured gait. Major Thomas Jonathan 
Jackson walked up and down before the Battalion which 
he viewed closely, then looked at the surroundings and 
the position of the opposing forces. He uttered no 
words, but his movements grew more animated every 
moment; his statue straightened and grew taller and 
bigger, and his merit, which was known to all, made 
him the central figure. Still, the formation of the Bat- 
talion went on. A leader who would take command was 
only needed, while three hundred yards up the street the 
volunteer company of a hundred young men, well-of- 
ficered, armed, and equipped, had been drawn up across 
the street, supported by five times their number of the 
citizens of the town and county, armed with shot guns, 
rifles and pistols."* 

On past the next house marched the column until the 
leading company was confronted by a superbly mounted 
officer, who caused it to mark time, each company as 
it closed doing the same until the Battalion was closed 
in mass, but still marking time. 

"Mr. Galloway," said the soldierly officer in a firm 
but low tone as he rose in his stirrups, "halt the column." 
"Battalion, Halt," commanded Galloway. 

"Face them about and take them back to Barracks," 
said the quiet mannered, unruffled officer, and his 

*The War, James H. Wood, V. M. I., 1861. 

The Virginia Military Institute 131 

directions were hardly given before the Corps was 
countermarched, passmg the perfectly manned section 
of artillery as it returned past the guard tree. 

By the time Galloway had halted his command, every 
member of which stood dumf ounded but unable through 
force of training and habit to disobey when once the 
ranks were closed, he had received instructions from 
the Superintendent. "Go to your rooms and disarm 
and assemble at once in Colonel Preston's section- 
room," directed the First Captain, and this was quickly 
done as ordered. 

The reader must agree with those who recall this 
incident accurately, that the conduct of that Battahon 
evidenced a most remarkable state of discipUne among 
its members. Only one famiUar with the force which 
the mob spirit of 300 stalwart youths with arms in their 
hands can set on foot, is able to appreciate this incident 
in its full significance. Here we see the mob spirit, 
fanned to a frenzy by the behef that physical violence 
had been unjustly and wantonly offered one of the mob. 
In an instant the suppressed animosities, which had 
been generating for months, burst out in a great flame of 
pent-up rage. The cry of a leader is heard — "Turn Out 
under Arms !" The meaning of that summons is known 
of all — the very tone of authority which makes the sum- 
mons a command quickens, and seems to justify, even 
in the coolest minds, the sense of the righteousness 
of revenge. In an instant 300 madmen seize their 
arms; in another instant about the mob is thrown 
the coil of discipline, and frenzied individuals 
no longer rush hither and thither in the surge of the 
mob, but stand shoulder to shoulder in the silent ranks, 
breathlessly awaiting the voice of a leader ordained by 
order, or habit, or common consent, what you will. No 
longer do we hear the din of mingled cries and im- 
precations. The eyes of these 300 youths no longer 
flash forth that half -animal ferocity of the frenzied mob. 
The ranks are closed. A familiar voice directs. The 
directions are not incoherent, demagogical ravings. 

132 The Military Histoby or 

serving to fan the flame of senseless frenzy smothered 
awhile. They are old, familiar commands. Each jaw 
is firmly set; each eye now gleams with resolution 
mingled with ordered intelligence. The great human 
throng moves, not with the hysterical jerk of the mob, 
but with a smoothness born of common intent. Sud- 
denly through the force of disciphne alone, the purpose 
of a single mind has substituted itself for the confusion 
of many others. The mob mind has been overcome ; the 
Avill of the leader has become that of the crowd — the mob 
has vanished as suddenly as it came into being. And 
so transpires the psychological transformation which 
caused Major Colston, on his superb charger "Pompy," 
to meet, not an unreasoning mob, but a body of soldiers 
trained to obey; a body whose unconscious but highest 
boast was its ability to subordinate individual desires to 
the will of a superior. 

We may search afar for a more striking example of 
the value of military disciphne. Few incidents convey 
a better lesson for those who in their ignorance contend 
that uniforms and arms alone are capable of making 
soldiers of citizens in the hour of emergency. In this 
incident will the psychologist also find much of interest, 
and before dismissing it we should ponder well the ele- 
ment of influence which Major Colston, known to the 
cadets as "Old Polly," brought to bear on the collective 
will. As his subsequent career shows he was a natural 
leader. Intuitively he knew that unflinching calmness, 
not hysteria, was the note his command should convey. 
He laiew the danger of a discordant word at such a 
time. It is such intuitive knowledge that enables some 
men to rise superior in time of crisis, and the lack of 
such that causes others to fail under the strain. 

When the cadets were finally assembled in the section- 
room to which Galloway had ordered them to repair, 
they were excoriated by the Superintendent for their 
conduct. They inwardly resented his charge of in- 
subordination and felt that they had been guilty of no 
such act in refusing to break their ranks vmtil ordered 

The Virginia Military Institute 133 

to do so by their immediate commander whom the 
Superintendent and the other officers they had en- 
countered had not approached. Colonel Preston and 
Major Massie next spoke in turn and then the cadets 
began to call for a speech from Major Jackson, who 
had been a silent but interested observer of the pro- 
ceedings, both in the town and in the assembly hall. At 
first Jackson declined to respond and only arose at the 
reiterated request of Colonel Smith. 

"At once, he mounted the rostrum and faced his audi- 
ence. His erect figure, flashing eye, energetic ex- 
pression, — short, quick and to the point, — disclosed to 
the commonest mind a leader of merit. He said, 'Mili- 
tary men make short speeches, and as for myself, I am 
no hand at speaking, anyhow. The time for war has not 
yet come, but it will come, and that soon; and when it 
does come, my advice is to draw the sword and throw 
away the scabbard.' 

"The personality of the speaker, the force of those 
simple words thus uttered, ehcited a response of ap- 
proval I never heard surpassed, except for the Con- 
federate yell often heard on the battlefield, a little later 
on. This simple speech and manner of Jackson estab- 
hshed in the minds of his audience the belief that he was 
a leader upon whose loyalty and courage we could 

Thus it was, that Major Jackson, "Old Tom Fool," 
sprang into prominence among the cadets as the "man 
of the hour" in their miUtary world. Who shall say 
that psychology does not play a leading role in war? 

*Tlie War, James H. Wood, V. M. I., 1861. Captain Wood's description of 
tlie action of the cadets In marclilng to tlie town is very interesting but in 
some respects erroneous, according to several other participants. 

134 The Military History of 



It must not be thought that the Institute was free 
from that difference of conviction which led brothers 
throughout the South to espouse the cause of secession 
and union. There is authority for the behef that over 
half a million Southern-born white men cast their lot 
as soldiers with the North. There were also many 
Northern men who followed the fortunes of the Con- 
federacy, and a number of them attained high rank in 
the Southern armies, such as General Samuel Cooper, 
Lieutenant- General John C. Pemberton, Major-Gen- 
erals Samuel C. French, Martin L. Smith, Frankhn 
Gardner; Brigadier-Generals Albert Pike, Albert C. 
Blanchard, Daniel Leadbetter, Isaac M. St. John, 
Josiah Gorgas, and others. 

When Virginia seceded the present State of West 
Virginia comprised a large part of her territory and 
there were a number of cadets from the western (fistrict 
of the State, whose people were strongly union in senti- 
ment. And then there were others from the border 
States who entertained the convictions of the North. 
Their records are fully set forth in Appendix "H," and 
show that of the fifteen cadets who entered the military 
service of the United States, one became a brigadier- 
general, three became colonels, one attained the rank of 
lieutenant-colonel, three that of major and three that of 
captain, two became lieutenants, one a surgeon in the 
navy, and one a private in the army. Five of the 
number lost their lives during the war and two soon 
after its close, in the line of duty. 

There have been a number of reunions of the war 
cadets of the Institute since 1865; some of them at- 

The Virginia Military Institute 135 

tended by those who went forth from Virginia's School 
of Arms to fight for the Union against their comrades 
of cadet days. But there was no spirit of recrimination, 
no sentiment of regret expressed at these joyous gath- 
erings; rather more a spirit of thanksgiving that all 
could return without a feeling that there was something 
here to wean the stripling soldier from allegiance to his 
convictions. At these reunions there were none but 
recalled that long ere they donned the frock coat of an 
officer, either Federal or Confederate, they had re- 
sponded to the reveille of hfe while wearing the cadet 
coatee ; and that the flag they had first learned to follow 
and to love, that they had served together — its white 
field, yet unsulhed as the driven snow — ^was emblazoned 
only with the features of Washington and the name of 
V. M. I.! 

At the 1913 Reunion of the graduates of the United 
States Mihtary Academy, General Morris S chaff, of 
Massachusetts, the president of the association, con- 
tributed from his beautiful pen, a pen dipped always 
in the well of human tenderness and brotherly affection, 
the following lines which we may repeat to express the 
sentiments of all V. M. I. men for those cadets who 
entered the Federal service during the War between the 
States : 

"What a just pride we have then in Grant and Lee; but not in 
them only, for in what numbers and what splendor our fellow- 
graduates performed their part in that national crisis and where- 
soever, before and since, they have followed the flag. And as my 
eyes sweep once more this chapel so dear and familiar to them, its 
speaking tablets, its mute cannon, dreaming colors and Weir's 
picture of War and Peace over this altar appealing to our hearts 
through the finer avenues of our being, lo ! the doors open and the 
battalion of my youth is marching in. Time has not dimmed the 
banner they carry, dewy and radiant still are the faces in the 
springtime of life. Kingsbury, who fell at Antietam ; Gushing and 
Pelham of immortal fame, O'Rorke and little Dad Woodruff, 
Sanderson, Robbins, Murray, Cross, Jones, W. G., that prince 
among gentlemen; Collins, Dimock, Roderic Stone, Beckham, 
Patterson, Willet, Ramseur, Jim Bearing, "Ned" Willis, — Oh, cadet 
friends of my day! garlands, garlands for you all, whether you 

136 The Militahy History of 

wore the blue or the gray, and peace, peace to your ashes wherever 
they lie ! And when I recall the gentleness of their natures and the 
blessings the sacrifices of their lives brought to our country and 
humanity, I feel like saying to the National Peace Society, which in 
its laudable, humanitarian enthusiasm puts all wars in the category 
of barbarism, that those men condemned and abhorred commercial 
and ambitious war as much as you do; but, members of the Peace 
Society, lofty and humane as is your purpose, sweet as are the 
days and the songs of peace, so long as there is iron in the blood, 
life will be laid down as they laid theirs down for Home, for 
Justice, and the free exercise of Natural rights, and heartily self- 
respecting manhood will exclaim. Amen!" 

Yes. What a just pride we have in that httle band of 
blue-clad soldiers, one of whom later sent his first-born 
son to be trained in our halls as an evidence of his de- 
votion to Alma Mater. 

If, pei'chance, the reader should fail to understand, 
even after reading the foregoing words, the attitude of 
the V. M. I. toward her sons who espoused the Union 
cause, let him know that her sentiments are those of the 
loving parent' whose ennobled story we shall tell; the 
story of William H. Terrill of Bath County, Virginia. 

In 1849 the father entered one of his four sons as a 
cadet at West Point; in 1854 another at the Institute. 
The first, William Rufus, attained the rank of Brig- 
adier-General of U. S. Voltmteers and after dis- 
tinguished service in the Federal Army laid down his 
Kfe in the battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862. The 
second, James Barbour, was graduated from the Insti- 
tute in 1858, soon to become a major in, and then the 
colonel of, the "gallant" 13th Virginia Regiment in 
command of which he won for himself the stars of a 
Confederate brigadier, and a glorious death on the field 
of Bethesda Church, May 31, 1864. After the war, 
when brothers no longer stood arrayed against each 
other, the bodies of WilUam and James, whose swords 
were sheathed forever, were brought by the stricken 
father to the home of their boyhood and laid in a single 
grave, where they rest in the embrace of eternal peace. 
But above their heroic remains and that single grave. 

The Virginia Military Institute 137 

there stands a stone upon which may be read the in- 
scription: "This monument erected by their father. 
God alone knows which was right." 

God alone knew which ones were right, but ere Vir- 
ginia actually seceded men had begun to anticipate the 
act and prepared to array themselves under the 
standards which already waved defiant in the heated 
breeze. Already those cadets loyal to the Union had 
withdrawn from the Institute, and hundreds of gradu- 
ates were seeking military office in the South. 

It was a striking justification of the faith which Vir- 
ginia had reposed, during the past twenty years, in her 
School of Arms, that the first mihtary organization she 
sent afield, and before she seceded, was commanded by 
an old cadet, Captain Reuben Lindsay Walker, a 
graduate of the Class of 1845. He had been a civil 
engineer for some years after leaving the Institute, and 
had finally settled upon a farm in New Kent County. 
Upon visiting Richmond, he was accosted by Mr. John 
PurceU, a wealthy citizen who had with his own means 
uniformed and equipped the battery named after him- 
self. Knowing Walker's fitness for command, he insisted 
on his accepting a commission as captain, without giving 
him time to return home to bid his wife farewell ; and it 
was nearly a year before he saw his family again, for 
the battery was ordered to the neighborhood of Aquia 
Creek immediately after the State seceded. It was 
armed with six of the Parrott field gims which the Com- 
missioners had purchased on Jackson's recommendation, 
and received its baptism of fire in the battle of First 
Manassas where Walker distinguished himself by ex- 
ploding a shell on the stone bridge over which the enemy 
was retreating, adding greatly to the confusion of the 
rout by turning over a number of gun carriages and 
vehicles which blocked the bridge; Reuben Lindsay 
Walker afterwards became Chief of Artillery, 3d Corps, 
and in 1864, after serving throughout the greater part 
of the war as a colonel, was finally promoted Brigadier- 
General of Artillery. There were but four officers of 

138 The Military History of 

that grade in the Artillery of the Army of Northern 
Virginia, the others, — Pendleton, Long and Alexander, 
— all being West Pointers. 

It was not until April 17th that Virginia seceded 
from the Union. That night, the Governor directed the 
Adjutant- General to order Colonel Smith to report in 
Richmond. On reaching the capital, Colonel Smith 
was informed that the Convention of Virginia had ap- 
pointed a "Coimcil of Three," upon the nomination of 
the Governor, to aid, counsel and advise him in the ex- 
ercise of his executive authority, in the emergency upon 
the State. 

This Council was composed of the following mem- 

Hon. John J. Allen, President of the Court of Ap- 
peals of Virginia. 

Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury, late Superin- 
tendent, U. S. Observatory. 

Colonel Francis H. Smith, Superintendent, Virginia 
Military Institute. 

Later, the Council was augmented by the addition of 
Hon. R. L. Montague, President of the Convention, 
and General Thomas S. Haymond. 

In order to show how imminent the probabihty of a 
call upon the Corps of Cadets appeared to the Acting 
Superintendent, after Colonel Smith was summoned 
to Richmond, the following order is here given: 

"Headquarters Virginia Mil. Inst., 

"April 18, 1861. 
"Order — No. 61. 

"The following is the order of exercises until further orders: 

"Drill at Battery daily, from 5 :30 to 6 :30 p. m. 

"2nd Class Mil. Engineering, from 8 to 10 a. m. 

"4th Class, Inf'ty Tactics, from 8 to 10 and 2 to 3. 

"3rd Class Art. Tactics, from 9 to 10 a. m. 

"4th Class Mortar and Rifle Cannon Drill, 6 to 7 a. m. 

"Battalion Drill, from 3 to 4 p. m. daily. 

"Artillery Tactics, 8 to 9 a. m. daily. 

"Strategy, from 10 to 11 daily. 

The Virginia Military Institute 139 

"Light Infantry, from 10 to 11 a. m. 

"First and Second class in the Laboratory, from 11 to 1. 

"By order of Major Preston, 

"T. M. Semmes, 

"Adjutant V. M. I." 

From a perusal of this order it is not difficult to 
understand what were the expectations of all. 

The same day, the authorities of Washington College 
applied for a detail of officers and cadets to instruct the 
"Liberty Hall" Volimteers, a company recruited from 
among the College students. To this work Major 
Williamson, Captain Hardin, Lieutenants Henderson, 
and Semmes, and such cadets as might be required by 
them, were assigned and the Commandant was directed 
to issue from the Arsenal such flint-lock muskets as the 
CoUege company might need. 

After consultation with the Council, it was deemed 
advisable by the Governor to estabhsh a Camp of In- 
struction in the vicinity of Richmond for the local 
troops, and to utilize the cadets the services of whom had 
been tendered by the Superintendent, as drill-masters. 
This decision was reached during the late afternoon of 
April 20th, and, early the next morning, the following 
telegraphic dispatch was received in Lexington: 

"EiCHMOND, April 20, 1861. 

"Send courier to Major Preston immediately to send Corps of 
Cadets to Richmond. Let inefficient cadets remain to aid as guard, 
and get volunteers from Lexington to aid as guard. Bring down 
all the ordnance stores with full supply of ammunition. Major 
Gilham and Mr. Catlett will report here, without delay. 

"Wm. H. Richardson, 


And, now, let us read the order immediately published 
by Major Preston announcing the receipt of this dis- 
patch : 

"When the muster is held for men who have souls to defend 
their native soil from violation, insult and subjugation, the heart 
of every Virginian responds to the voice, and, with stern delight, 
he answers, 'Here!' 

140 The Military History of 

"Words are not necessary now to stimulate. 

"The Corps of Cadets will prove their birth and breeding, and 
exhibit to Virginia the work of her favorite Institute. The cadet 
will not fail to manifest the advantage which the military training 
gives to him over those not less brave than himself. The Corps 
will go forth the pride of its friends, the hope of the State, and 
the terror of her foes. May the blessing of the God of Hosts rest 
upon every one who is battling in this holy cause! 

"The march wiU be performed as directed by special order. 

"In the march, the Corps will be under the command of Major 
Jackson. Major Colston is assigned to duty as Acting Comman- 
dant of Cadets, and will report to Major Jackson. Lieutenant 
Cunningham will act as Assistant Commandant of Cadets, and will 
report to Major Colston. Lieutenant McDonald is assigned to the 
Artillery, and will report to Major Jackson. Lieutenant Semmes 
will accompany the Corps as Adjutant. 

"Dr. R. L. Madison, Surgeon, and Dr. J. R. Page, Assistant 
Surgeon, will comprise the Medical Staff. Assistant Surgeon Page 
will be with the Corps on the march. 

"Commissary Gibbs will accompany the Corps as far as 

"By order of the Adjutant-General, Lieutenants McCausland 
and Shipp will remain here to raise companies. 

"The details will be prepared, as heretofore ordered, and be 
ready to be inspected at 10 o'clock. 

"At 12:30 o'clock they will be formed to march. Dinner at 
12 o'clock. 

"The following detail is made of cadets to form a guard of the 
Virginia Military Institute. 

"By order of Major Preston, 

"T. M. Semmes, 

Then followed a detail of 48 of the younger, and less 
experienced, cadets to remain at the Institute, 

One may well imagine the elation of those selected to 
go with "Old Jack" to Richmond, and the bitter 
chagrin of the younger lads, drafted from among their 
fellows, to remain in Barracks. The joys and the bitter- 
ness of that hour can not be recorded in history. 

Long before the appointed hour the Corps assembled 
and chafed with youthful impatience at the delay, as 
Major Jackson paced back and forth in front of the 
Washington Statue. "Let us go, let us go," the ardent 
youth cried. "When the clock strikes the hour we will 

The Virginia Military Institute 141 

march, and not iintil then," their stern commander re- 
phed, and ere the hour ceased to strike, the sharp order, 
'Tor-ward — March" rang out upon the glorious spring- 
air from Major Jackson's lips. Jackson was very 
much annoyed by the persistent and impatient im- 
portunities of the cadets to move off. To show them he 
had no intention of moving until the appointed time, 
he sent to the mess-hall for a mess stool, and on it he 
took his seat by the statue. That stool he took with him 
to Richmond, and all through his campaigns. It is now 
in the possession of the family of General Pendleton in 

It was now that the Virginia Mihtary Institute was 
to subserve the distinctive purpose of its creation, for 
Governor Letcher, thoroughly familiar with the School, 
its military traditions, its noble ideals, and the peculiar 
efficiency of the Corps, by reason of his residence in 
Lexington, and his intimate association with the officers 
of the Institute, had ordered the Corps to proceed to 
Richmond to provide drill-masters for the volunteers, 
and to impart to the raw soldiery of the South the 
principles contained in Gilham's Manual. 

Dangers were thickening rapidly around the State. 
Invasion by overwhelming numbers seemed imminent. 
Norfolk, Richmond, Alexandria, and Harper's Ferry 
were threatened. Such was the condition of affairs 
when the Corps entered upon the fulfillment of the 
high mission for which it had been so earnestly prepar- 
ing the past twenty-two years. 

To console the heartbroken youths who remained be- 
hind, — whose misery was as abject as their disappoint- 
ment was keen, — Major Preston published during the 
afternoon an order assigning Major Crutchfield to duty 
as Acting Commandant of Cadets, and Captain Hardin 
as his Assistant. 

"The whole Corps is now in active service, and the detail made 
for the post, is made by the same order from the Adjutant-General 
of Virginia, which put on the march those who have just left us. 
Those who remain are doing duty to Virginia as really, and it may 
be as eificiently, as those who are gone. It is not the service that 

142 The Militaby History of 

any one of us would prefer. But the soldier who is prepared to 
do only such duty as pleases him, is not to be trusted. The soldier 
that would desert a post, would fly in battle." 

But the order reciting the foregoing was poor con- 
solation for the Httle band held in Lexington, and the 
utmost discontent among its members was manifested, 
without, however, any indication of insubordination, or 
neglect of duty. 

The following day, the "Rockbridge Greys," a local 
volunteer company. Captain Updike commanding, was 
consolidated with the remaining cadets, and mihtary 
exercises for all, and academic duty for the cadets, 

As the Corps crossed the bridge over the North River, 
and ascended the hills beyond, on the day of its de- 
parture, a lingering look from every eye was cast be- 
hind at the fading outlines of Barracks, which like a 
great, gray castle crowned the distant plateau. How 
many cadets have seen those castellated walls thus vanish 
from their view! But have any lost the mental picture 
of those martial halls in which the heart-aches and joys 
of youth combine to make the memory of cadet-days, 
whether bitter or sweet, yet glorious? 

"There, our laudable boyish ambitions had been 
aroused, our hopes kindled, and our mental and physical 
manhood developed ; there, each was independent of his 
fellows, yet all were a band of brothers." There, each 
had learned how to obey, and hence went forth into an 
unknown world, knowing the secret of command. 

Two hundred strong, the Corps pressed on towards 
Staunton, the battery armed with the four 6-pounder 
cadet guns, and the baggage wagons rumbling on be- 
hind, in a vain effort to keep apace with the unwearying 
feet of the boy infantry in the van. Ten miles out, and 
a farm wagon was impressed to carry the cadet knap- 
sacks; biit^no thought of a bivouac short of Staunton 
was entertained, for this was the first of "Stonewall" 
Jackson's foot-cavalry! Staunton, thirty-eight miles 
away, was reached at 10 o'clock that night. 

The Virginia Military Institute 143 

Major Jackson may have made longer marches, and 
we know he commanded larger forces, in later days; 
but, of this we may be sure, he never commanded a more 
gallant band, or one which possessed a greater nerve, 
than that which he led over the blue hills of Rockbridge 
and Augusta, out from the confines of youth, and into 
the world of glory beyond, on the 21st of April, 1861 ; 
for it was that same body of Southern youth that later 
formed the backbone of his victorious armies, bearing 
the eagles of his triumphs and the burden of his fame. 

Footsore and weary, the cadets slept well the night of 
their first real day of military service, quartered in the 
hotels of Staimton, but arose bright and ready for the 
work of the next morning. First, the guns and baggage 
had to be loaded on flat cars, and everything carefully 
packed for the movement by rail to Richmond. This 
done, several hours were allowed them to stroll about 
the town in their natty gray uniforms. Staunton in 
those days boasted of a mmiber of fine schools for girls, 
as it does at the present time; and the fair pupils with 
their matronly guardians were permitted for once to 
mingle with the gallant soldier lads, ere they departed. 

At last, the "Assembly" soxmded and the Corps en- 
trained amid the cheers and huzzas of the populace. As 
the troop train, always an inspiring sight to the citizen, 
pulled out with its brave passengers, many were the 
tears, the fond farewells, the longing glances, and "the 
girls they left behind them." 

All went well until the heavy train reached the Blue 
Ridge tunnel on the old Central Railroad (now the 
Chesapeake and Ohio). There, an exciting, and some- 
what perilous, catastrophe occurred. "The train con- 
sisted of passenger cars for the officers and Corps and 
flat cars for the battery and baggage. It was a 
'special,' and hence had no schedule time. When well 
in the tunnel, which is nearly a mile long, our engine was 
derailed. The smoke from it filled the cars, and the 
narrow space aroimd them. We could not go forward, 
for the engine and force engaged blocked the way; nor 

144 The Military History or 

could we go back, as we would be in danger of being 
left, as the engine might be ready for duty any minute 
and would at once pull out. To add to our peril, another 
train from the direction whence we came was about due, 
as per schedule time, and was liable to collide with 
ours, in which event results could but be imagined. 
Thus we were held veritable prisoners for nearly two 
hours, imperiled by the dangers of an oncoming train 
and the suffocating smoke from our own engine, — our 
first lesson in the privation and hardships of war." 

Soon, however, the derailed engine was righted, and 
the train moved off, meeting with ovations all along the 
route. Before the Corps reached Richmond few coatees 
were capable of being buttoned, for the V. M. I. button 
was then, as now, most popular among the fair sex. 

"Late ia the afternoon, Richmond loomed up to view. 
This was another new sight, for most of us were from 
rural districts, and had never seen a city. From the 
station we marched to the front of the Capitol Building 
in Capitol Square. Here the Corps was reviewed by 
His Excellency, the Governor, who made a little talk, 
and the comphments were pleasing to boys (as we 
were) . He said, among other things, that war was upon 
us and much depended upon our work in preparing an 
army for the field. Then, amid the waving of handker- 
chiefs by the dames and maidens, and the huzzas of the 
men and boys (a large number of whom had gathered 
to see and greet us), we marched to what was then 
known as the new Fair Grounds, about a mile west of 
the city." 

So forcibly did "Honest John," the Governor, pre- 
sent the needs of Virginia in his address, so flatteringly 
did he refer to the ability of the Corps to meet the de- 
mands of the State, and so seriously did he charge the 
cadets, individually and collectively, with the great 
responsibilities imposed upon them, that no lad marched 
away from his inspiring presence without silently 
pledging himself to the faithful service of his country. 
Thus did the fledglings, within a brief hour, become 

The Virginia Military Institute 145 

men with the fullest responsibilities of manhood and of 
their calling. , 

The Corps was quartered in the Exhibition buildings 
surrounded by the beautiful Fair Grounds, which were 
well suited for a camp of concentration and instruction. 
All arrangements for its accommodation had been per- 
fected in advance by Colonel Gilham, by whose sug- 
gestion the camp had been named after his old friend, 
Colonel Robert E. Lee, now the senior officer of Vir- 

Soon, General Magruder, Jackson's old battery com- 
mander, arrived, and assvmied charge of the artillery, 
and immediately the undrilled, undisciplined, partly im- 
armed, and un-uniformed volunteers of Virginia began 
to arrive at Camp Lee. 

The raw volunteers afforded much amusement to the 
well-trained cadets. Many of them reported with 
squirrel rifles, shot guns, butcher's knives, and ancient 
horse pistols. Some wore red shirts and coon-skin caps, 
and all were imbued with the behef that the true soldier 
must present a dare-devil aspect with the unkempt 
hair and scraggly beard of the border ruffian. To these 
men the trim cadets appeared play-soldiers and dandies, 
almost beneath their contempt, and they at first re- 
garded the little "whipper-snappers" placed over them 
with the utmost disfavor. 

As the volunteers arrived, were mustered into the 
service, and organized into regiments, and batteries, 
drill-masters (one to a company) were assigned to 
them from the Corps of Cadets. General Magruder at 
once called upon Major Jackson to designate twelve 
cadets skilled in gunnery and artillery drill to be as- 
signed to the difficult task of drilhng and assisting in 
organizing the light batteries, among which were the 
1st, 2d, and 3d Companies of Richmond Howitzers, the 
Richmond Fayette Artillery, and the Hampden Artil- 
lery from Richmond, the Beauregard Rifles from 
Lynchburg, and other artillery organizations destined 
to become famous in the ensuing war. 


146 The Military History of 

Soon, Captain Edward Porter Alexander, recently 
resigned from the U. S. Engineers, already dis- 
tinguished as a former Commandant of West Point, 
and as an expert in the novel signal-system developed 
by Myer, arrived from the West, to assume direct 
charge of the Artillery instruction. It was he who 
urged the organization of the three batteries of Rich- 
mond Howitzers, commanded by Captains J. C. Shields, 
J. Thompson Brown, and Robert Stanard, respec- 
tively, into a battahon with George W. Randolph as 
Major. Thus, the cadets were identified with the 
first battalion of Field Artillery ever created in 

So efficient was the work of the cadets, that within a 
few weeks the Confederacy was threatened with losing 
their services as drill-masters, by reason of their ab- 
sorption into the army as officers. Many of them 
were commissioned, ere a month had elasped; but 
enough remained at the disposal of the authorities with 
which to whip into shape the 20,000 volvmteers as- 
sembled at Camp Lee, and as a just tribute to the value 
of their services and of the Institute, the Convention 
unanimously adopted a most complimentary resolution 
in July, and an allowance of $20 a month, in addition to 
subsistence, was made each cadet drill-master. 

In June, 1861, there were 433 (467 less 34 dead) 
graduates of the Institute living, and the vast majority 
of those were commissioned officers in the various 
armies of the South before the first hostile move was 
made, and this was also true of the 654 (741 less 87 
dead) non-graduates, among the Sieves of the School, 
living then. July 15, 1861, the Superintendent re- 
ported to the Board that one-third of the field officers 
in the Volunteers, and two-thirds of those in the Pro- 
visional Army, were graduates or ex-cadets, while the 
number of captains and lieutenants were in proportion 
to the field officers. The result was, that the jealousy 
of the volunteers throughout the South, and especially 
in Virginia, was aroused, and a thoughtless prejudice 

The Virginia Military Institute 147 

arose in the public mind against the Virginia Mihtary 
Institute, which was supposed to have exerted an undue 
influence upon Governor Letcher, in the matter of mih- 
tary appointments. 

Such is always the case in a country where no definite 
military policy prevails, and no adequate provision for 
defense is made, in time of peace. Civilians, who neces- 
sarily comprise the bulk of the army, when the call for 
volunteers is made, ever display the most unreasonable 
prejudice against men better equipped than themselves 
to lead. They ignore utterly the years of devoted ser- 
vice and preparation of trained soldiers, asserting, in 
their ignorance and self-confidence, their own natural 
abihties to command. By some illogical process of 
reasoning that sets at naught the history of war, they 
even disparage those who have devoted years to the 
study of military science. They point with conviction 
to such far-fetched examples as Cleon and Narses, not 
realizing that "pestilent demagogues and mutilated 
guardians of Eastern zenanas have not always been suc- 
cessful in war," and, in their conceit, earnestly believe 
that they, if but the opportunity be given them, will, 
hke Cincinnattus, prove the saviours of their country. 
They can not, as a rule, comprehend that untrained 
soldiers who have attained success in war are the ex- 
ceptions, which prove the rule, and if they do perceive 
the inexorable truths which history should impress upon 
us, they confidently beheve themselves to be the ex- 

So, it was that Gilham's and Jackson's services were 
forgotten, and when they were nominated for promo- 
tion as colonels in May by Governor Letcher, many 
of the members of the Legislature inquired, "Who is 
this Thomas J. Jackson?" 

"I can tell you who he is," Hon. Samuel McDowell 
Moore, of Rockbridge replied, "If you put him in com- 
mand at Norfolk, he will never leave it alive, unless you 
order him to do so." 

148 The Military History of 

While the hue and cry against them continued, the 
cadets continued to "shoot discipline" into the raw 
volunteers entrusted to their charge, and to secure com- 
missions whenever possible. Drilling the volunteers was 
a role which suited them exactly, for they were used to 
it. The drill of "rats" was a pastime from which every 
upper classman had graduated with honors, and the 
"plebes" were overjoyed that their opportimity to en- 
gage in the sport had at last come. Many were the ludi- 
crous sights witnessed at Camp Lee as the trim, sharp- 
voiced youngsters, perfectly drilled and disciphned them- 
selves, trotted the surprised recruits, panting and weary, 
about the spacious drill-grounds of Camp Lee. Many 
were the poor country yokels, who, compelled to bathe 
and shear their hirsute badges of military dignity, re- 
belled in spirit, but obeyed the tyrannical striplings who 
lorded it over them, saying all the while among them- 
selves, "Surely this is not war!" 

But as the days worp on, and a semblance of discipline 
began to be detected among the volunteers, — ^then the 
true indications of the soldier in their improved carriage 
and drill, — there was less grumbling; and rapidly con- 
tempt was superseded by the highest respect for the 
gray-clad martinets from Lexington. 

At first, the camp was intended for Virginia troops 
only ; but the value of the system of instruction there in 
operation was so apparent to all, that it was made the 
rendezvous of troops from other states, as well. This 
increased the numbers so greatly that not only the new, 
but the old. Fair Grounds had to be utilized, a,nd the 
Corps was taxed to the utmost in its special and im- 
portant work. 

The general health record of the Corps while in the 
Camp of Instruction was excellent; only three serious 
cases of illness occurring between April 23d and June 
30th. Early in May an epidemic of laryngitis and 
opthaknia, and soon after of catarrh broke out among 
the volunteers, due to unfavorable weather conditions. 
Soon followed measles, diarrhoea, and dysentery, all of 

The Virginia Military Institute 149 

which played havoc with the volunteer troops; but in the 
entire Corps but 9 cases of measles, 26 of diarrhoea, 5 of 
dysentery, and 26 of laryngitis and opthahnia oc- 
curred, facts which strikingly testify to the value of 
trained soldiers, always more or less exempt from the 
camp diseases which beset raw troops. 

How fortunate was the South to possess such an as- 
set as the Virginia Military Institute! Only a man of 
military experience can estimate the value of its services 
at this time. Yet, the historian has completely ignored 
its work, and has failed to grasp the real reasons for the 
initial success of the Confederate forces in Virginia. 
He has failed to perceive, in his scrutiny of the natural 
characteristics of the Southern volvmteers, the real rea- 
son for their superiority over the men of the North in the 
early days of the war in Virginia. He has failed to 
detect, standing there all along the Confederate battle- 
hne at Manassas, 500 trained yoxmg officers, and the 
200 drill-masters of Camp Lee, who poured out from 
the embattled Barracks at Lexington, upon the first 
call to arms ! 

Nor was the Institute unduly favored by Governor 
Letcher in his appointments. It was not imtil the re- 
organization of the army, in the spring of 1862, that 
Institute men came to their own. Until that time, the 
higher grades had been very generally confined to re- 
tired oflficers of the Old Army, to those who resigned 
their commissions to join the Confederate arms, and to 
politicians. Thus, Institute men were at first over- 
slaughed, irrespective of their abilities, except with re- 
spect to the number of commissions assigned them. 
Governor Letcher, in his report of June 17, 1861, to the 
Convention of Virginia, stated that over one-half of the 
recruiting officers and the junior officers were appointed 
from among the graduates of the Institute.* 

The records also show that of the 56 regiments of 
Virginia Infantry and Heavy Artillery mustered into 
the service of the Confederate States of America, in 

•Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. 1, p. 390. 

150 The Military History of 

1861, 20 were commanded by graduates of the Institute, 
and that two of the eight cavahy regiments were also 
commanded by former cadets. The number of lieu- 
tenant-colonels and majors were at this time out of all 
proportion to the number of regimental commanders, 
but as time wore on, they forged rapidly to the front. 
Thus, during the war, the Institute furnished the Con- 
federacy 92 colonels, 64 lieutenant-colonels, 107 majors, 
304 captains, and 221 lieutenants. It is estimated that 
at one time nearly two-thirds of the Army of Northern 
Virginia was officered by field-officers from the 

During the months of May and June, and early July, 
many inspiring spectacles were witnessed by the cadets 
at Camp Lee, among which was the presentation of a 
new Confederate flag, made by the ladies of Richmond, 
to the 18th Virginia Regiment. There were many Old 
Cadets in this fine regiment, and the Corps, therefore, 
felt especial pride in its recognition by Mr. Davis. 

"This flag," said he, "is our symbol of liberty, and on 
behalf of the ladies of the capital of our nation, I gave 
it into the hands that will proudly bear it to victory, and 
never let it trail in the dust." 

The cadets had had occasion to see Mr. Davis before 
this, during the many visits which he made to the camp, 
attended by his brilliant staff; and, while they had felt 
the generally entertained respect for the President of 
the Confederacy, it was not until now that they were 
spell-bound by the power of the man. In the excite- 
ment of their work, they had found little time to dwell 
upon the virtues of the new nation; but Mr. Davis's 
speech aroused in them the greatest enthusiasm for the 
new flag, which for four long years they were to follow, 
and first made them realize they were soldiers of the 
new nation of which that flag was symbolic. 

Other prominent statesmen visited the camp, and ad- 
dressed the troops; among whom was the venerable 
John Tyler, veteran of 1812, former Governor of Vir- 
ginia, and Ex-President of the United States. Alt 

The Virginia Military Institute 151 

were optimistic of the outcome of the war and each 
added his coal of fire to the enthusiasm of the cadets. 

The work of Instruction, in so far as the Corps was 
concerned, was wholly in the hands of Gilham, who had 
been promoted Colonel of the 21st Virginia Regiment 
late in April. Jackson only remained with the Corps 
a few days after its arrival in Richmond; for on April 
26th, he was promoted Colonel of Virginia Volun- 
teers, and immediately departed to take command of 
the force gathering at Harper's Ferry, while the Act- 
ing Commandant, Major Colston, was detailed in 
charge of the Camp of Instruction at Norfolk. 

By the time Joseph E. Johnston had assembled the 
2d Corps, or Army of the Shenandoah, in the Valley; 
Beauregard, the 1st Corps, or Army of the Potomac, 
at Manassas; and Magruder, the Army of the Penin- 
sula, at Yorktown, there were few troops left at Camp 
Lee, and, therefore, few cadet drill-masters. The Corps 
had been practically dissolved by the appointment of 
cadets as ofiicers, the attaching of those left to com- 
panies in the field, and the ordering of a few of the 
young men back to the Institute. 

At the Institute work had been promptly resumed, as 
we have seen. Many of the cadets from distant States 
which had been left behind resigned, in order to return 
to their homes, and there join the army. A few returned 
from Richmond, and about 100 new cadets were ad- 
mitted after the 1st of May. By the end of that month, 
there were over 100 cadets in Barracks, who were being 
thoroughly instructed in Field Fortifications, Artillery, 
and Infantry Tactics, and in the drill of all these 

During the summer of 1861, although the great bulk 
of the arms had been issued from the Arsenal at the 
Institute, there were 3,600 stand of muskets, 8 6-pound 
iron guns, 15,900 pounds of cannon, and 125 pounds of 
rifle powder, and 600 rounds of fixed ammunition for 
the cadet battery, including roimd shot and canister, 
while the employees of the Institute, under the direction 

152 The Military History of 

of the Quartermaster, turned out 10,000 small arms 
cartridges per day for the use of the army. 

Early in June, it was rumored that a raiding party of 
Federal Cavalry was approaching Lexington, with the 
intention of destroying the Institute and the Arsenal. 
The report was absurd, and, though not credited, Major 
Preston, Acting Superintendent, took the precaution of 
providing for the defense of the Institute. Ten rounds 
of anmiunition were issued each cadet; an artillery de- 
tachment was designated and placed under Lieutenant 
Himter, Class of 1861. Major Crutchfield was directed 
to move out and meet the enemy with an infantry de- 
tachment composed of half of the cadets, and Captain 
Hardin, to defend Barracks with those remaining. 
Lieutenant Morgan was assigned to duty with the 
"Liberty Hall" Volunteers, Lieutenant Ross with 
Captain Gatman's local company, and Lieutenant 
Smith and Lynch, and Surgeon Meade, to the staff of 
the Acting Superintendent, the last being directed to 
prepare the Hospital to receive the wounded! 

Needless to add, nothing came of this wild rumor, for 
there was no enemy within reach of Lexington, at this 
time. The incident is narrated, however, as one of 
many, to illustrate the state of mind of the cadets, from 
first to last. The wonder is that any remained; and 
none would have done so had parental orders not com- 
pelled them to forego the field of glory. 

Another incident which created a marked impression 
upon the young soldiers, was the announcement in May 
of the death of Captain John Q. Marr. Entering the 
military service in April, he was killed while gallantly 
defending an outpost at Fairfax Courthouse, June 1, 
1861, and shed "the first blood of the war," according 
to the report of the Adjutant- General of Virginia. 

Thus, was the seriousness of the war brought home to 
the cadets, further adding to their restlessness and long- 
ing to take the field. 

Thursday, June 13th, was appointed a day of national 
fasting and himiiliation by the proclamation of Presi- 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 153 

dent Davis, and, accordingly, all duties at the Institute 
were suspended by Major Preston who in orders paid 
the tribute of the Virginia Military Institute to the 
memory of Captain Marr, in these words : 

"The Acting Superintendent takes this occasion to 
announce officially the death of Captain J. Q. Marr, of 
Fauquier Coimty. He was one of the oldest Alumni of 
the Institute, having graduated in 1846, the second dis- 
tinguished graduate of his class. He devoted his 
talents to the pursuits of civil life, and held important 
and influential offices in his county. At the first call of 
his county for his services as a soldier, he seized the 
arms whose use he had laid aside but not forgotten. He 
was offered a commission as Lieutenant-Colonel, but he 
chose to head the company he had raised. The enemy 
made a sudden attack upon the post where he was 
stationed, and he immediately exposed himself, regard- 
less of danger, to the fire of the foe, when he was pierced 
to the heart by an ill-fated ball. 

"The Institute with pride has beheld the graduates 
hastening to arms in order to redeem the pledge of 
fidelity to Virginia, that makes the motto upon the flag 
of the Corps. To the Institute, too, has been accorded 
the sad, yet honorable, distinction, that the first officer 
who has laid down his life on the altar of his country 
has had his name recorded on our Register with dis- 
tinction. Such examples serve their noble purpose when 
they stimulate to imitation. Such imitation is the 
noblest tribute we can pay to the brave dead." 

In the latter part of June, it was announced that 
Colonel Smith proposed to raise a regiment for the field 
during the simimer, and that graduates, ex-cadets, and 
such cadets as were permitted by their parents to join 
the army, would be welcomed by him as officers — an 
invitation which many accepted. 

The work of the Institute was not suspended until 
July 18th. Notice had been given the Acting Superin- 
tendent by the professors and assistant professors, who 
had been all the spring and summer laboriously dis- 

154 The Military History of 

charging the new duties which had devolved upon them, 
that after the 1st of July, the date on which the academic 
year terminated, they would tender their services to the 
governor for active and permanent service in the field. 
Great credit is due Major Preston, who had returned 
from Harper's Ferry where he might have remained on 
Jackson's staff, and to Major Crutchfield and Captain 
Hardin, for their unselfish labors up to this time. The 
two last, without the advantages of text-books, had pre- 
pared a course of lectures in the various branches, of the 
military art. Lieutenants Ross, Morgan, Lynch, 
Hunter, and Smith, had also rendered valuable aid as 
tactical officers. But they could no longer be restrained, 
and although there were 100 cadets present for duty, 
a nvmiber of candidates present and applying for ad- 
mission, and yet others on the way to enter, there was 
no other alternative than to decline to receive new 
cadets, to accept the resignation of all those recently 
admitted, and to place the others on furlough until 
September 1st. 

Now, let us see what became of the officers of the 

The Superintendent, after the dissolution of the 
Council of State, July 16th, was assigned to duty as 
Colonel of the 9th Virginia Regiment, Heavy Artillery, 
in command of the Craney Island defenses in Norfolk 
Harbor. The Commandant had been promoted Colonel, 
21st Virginia Infantry, and was now preparing to join 
his command in the Valley. Major Jackson had been 
appointed Colonel of Volunteers April 26th, assigned 
to the command of the troops at Harper's Ferry, and 
promoted Brigadier-General June 17th. Major 
Williamson had been assigned to duty in April, as 
Major of the Corps of Engineers, under his academic 
commission, and had since been busily engaged fortify- 
ing the line of the Rappahannock, and, later on, the de- 
fenses near Manassas Junction, having been promoted 
Lieutenant-Colonel of Engineers in early July. Major 
Colston had been promoted Colonel of the 16th Virginia 

The Virginia Military Institute 155 

Infantry, and assigned to the command of the Camp of 
Instruction at Norfolk. Dr. R. L. Madison, Surgeon, 
had been placed on duty as Medical Director of Camp 
Lee. Captain McCausland, upon the special request of 
the people of the Kanawha Section, had been appointed 
Lieutenant-Colonel 35th Virginia Infantry, and as- 
signed to duty in the West. Lieutenants Shipp, Cun- 
ningham, and McDonald, had been appointed Captains 
in the Provisional Army, and assigned to special duties 
— ^the first, vmder the orders of Colonel Gilham, as As- 
sistant Adjutant- General — the others under Jackson at 
Harper's Ferry, Captain Cimningham, on engineer 
duty, and Captain McDonald, as Assistant Inspector- 
General. Before the end of the stimmer, Shipp became 
Major of the 21st Virginia of which Gilham was the 
Colonel. Lieutenant Semmes was retained at the Camp 
of Instruction as Acting Commandant, upon the relief 
of Colonel Colston. 

After being reheved of duty at the Institute, Majors 
Preston and Crutchfield were appointed Lieutenant- 
Colonel and Major 9th Virginia Regiment, respectively, 
Colonel Smith conmianding, and repaired to Craney 
Island. In October, however, Preston rejoined Jack- 
son's staflF as Assistant Adjutant-General, Army of the 
Valley, and soon Crutchfield, longing for active service, 
transferred to the 58th Virginia Infantry, with the 
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, and was ordered to West 
Virginia, where he served tmder General Lee. During 
the fall he was tendered the colonelcy of the 16th Vir- 
ginia, but ill-health forced him to decline the pro- 

Captain M. B. Hardin, hke Crutchfield, was also 
appointed Major in the 9th Virginia Regiment, upon 
leaving Lexington; Lieutenant J. D. H. Ross, Major, 
later Lieutenant-Colonel 52d Virginia Infantry; Lieu- 
tenant W. H. Morgan, Adjutant 21st Virginia In- 
fantry, later Captain and killed; and Lieutenant O. C. 

iln the spring of 1862, he became Jackson's Chief of Artillery (Vlce- 
Maior Daniel Trneheart), with the rank of Colonel of Artillery; was wounded 
at Chancellorsville, and killed at Sailor's Creek in April, 1865, after most 
heroic and efficient service throughout the war. 

156 The Military History of 

Henderson, First-Lieutenant, later Captain 1st Battal- 
ion Virginia Infantry. 

Rodes, who had never served at the Institute as a 
full professor, had, meantime, become Colonel of the 
5th Alabama, later Major- General, and was killed. 

Captain John T. Gibbs was placed in command of 
the "Rockbridge Greys," and alone remained in charge 
of the Institute. Thus, it is seen, that every officer of 
the Institute had entered the service, and that, by the 
middle of the summer, the faculty and the Corps had 

Far off in the hills of Rockbridge, the great Cadet 
Barracks,* tenanted only by a few members of the mi- 
litia, stood silent and all but deserted during the fall and 
winter of 1861, a mournful reminder of the gallant 
band which had poured forth from its grim portals, 
apppealing, in its abandoned aspect, to the poetess who 
wrote : 

"They are gone ! they are gone ! Never more shall they come 
With no gap in their ranks to this dearly loved home; 
They are gone ! they are gone ! from depression upspringing, 
Its bold onward flight the young spirit is wringing. 
In memory still lingers the touching refrain, 
Of exulting farewell, spoken once and again. 

"Still, I see the light form — the flushed cheek — the quick eye, 
Still, I hear the firm tread, as 'boy heroes' sweep by; 
But the mantle of evening from daylight is won. 
And the Mother's worn heart looks in vain for her son. 
Alas ! for the eyes that have scarce known a tear ! 
Alas ! for the hopes that were safe garnered here ! 

"They are gone ! they are gone ! From terrace and hill, 
Of the light springing footsteps, the echo is still. 
The rich music of youth's wild exuberance is gone; 
Through this midnight of sorrow, we watch all alone 
In a sickness of heart that sees nought in their path 
But the Great Reaper's Sickle, the harvest of Death ! 
This is feeble distrust. It is cowardly fear 
To linger thus idly, when danger is near. 
Arise — break its shackles — look out from this gloom. 
To thy work bravely done will the Comforter come. 

•Occupied by the Rockbridge Greys, upon the departure of the Corps of 
Cadets, as a guard for the Arsenal, In which much Ordnance material was 
stored. See Eebelllon Rec, Series IV, Vol. 1, pp. 387-388. 

The Virginia Military Institute 157 

'Did the sun's rosy light o'er the Blue Ridge this morning 
Kiss the high mountain peaks? I know not, for this warning 
Note eagerly longed for, prevented the day. 
And the hours, unchronicled, glided away. 
All to one paying tribute. Well each cadet knew 
To the stroke of the clock, the command would be true; 
Major Jackson in charge, he would linger for none. 
And he still would move on, did he move on alone. 

"With Love, holiest cares, as her purpose fulfilling. 
Another's burdens to lighten, the heart is made willing; 
Thus to lighten its own, each moment passed on, 
Smiles brightening to tears — ^then, in tears, the smiles gone. 
Fair young fingers were busy— on many a fair face. 
This April of Sunshine and Showers you might trace ; 
While gay words of greeting were followed as soon. 
By some errand accepted, as quickly as known. 

"Hark! the roll of the drum. It has called them to prayer, 
And each uncovered head bows in reverence there. 
Through the Barracks is hushed all the vexed strife of earth, 
As the servant of God breathes falteringly forth 
In grief-stricken accents, but firm, trusting faith, 
A prayer for His presence in danger and death. 
Let them only be Thine, then must suffering be 
The path Thou hast chosen to lead them to Thee ! 
The silence is broken— a quick rush of feet — 
Each one takes his place, and the ranks are complete. 
A stroke of the clock — ^the Battalion moves on — 
A dull, measured tramp — -a last look — they are gone !"* 

*By Mrs. Francis H. Smith. 

158 The Military History of 



We have seen that Major Jackson's preferment was 
attributed by jealous civihans, seeking their own selfish 
interests, to the undue influence of the Virginia Mihtary 
Institute. His connection with the army, and his sei-v- 
ice in Mexico seemed to have passed from the memory 
of everybody but his intimate friends.* 

The following account of Jackson's arrival at 
Harper's Ferry, where he arrived and took command 
May 3, 1861, is given by General John D. Imboden, 
at that time Captain of the Staunton Battery: 

"When I arrived in Richmond, General Robert E. Lee had been 
placed in command of all the Virginia forces by the Governor, and 
by an ordinance every militia officer in the State, above the rank of 
Captain, had been decapitated, and the Governor and his Military 
Council had been authorized to fill the vacancies thus created. 
This was a disastrous blow to the 'pomp and circumstance of 
glorious war' at Harper's Ferry. Militia generals, and the brilliant 
'staif' were stricken down, and their functions devolved, according 
to Governor Letcher's order, upon Thomas J. Jackson, Colonel 
Commandant, and James W. Massie, Major and Assistant 
Adjutant-General, who arrived during the first week of May. 

"This was Stonewall Jackson's first appearance on the theatre 
of war. I spent one day and night in Richmond, and then returned 
to camp, arriving about 2 p. m. What a revolution three or four 
days had wrought ! I could scarcely realize the change. The 
militia generals were aU gone, and the staff had vanished. The 
commanding colonel and his adjutant had arrived, and were occupy- 
ing a small room in the little wayside hotel near the railroad bridge. 

♦Military Biography of Stonewall Jackson, Jones, p. 36. The following 
letter from Major Preston, who had been ordered to Elchmoud, is interesting 
at this point : 

"I got here safely. As I anticipated, the Colonel wanted to consult me with 
regard to matters connected with the Institute, and the organization of the 
military forces of the region roundabout. Colonel Smith is occupying here a 
Tery important and laborous position and is acquiring a very enviable reputation 
for the value of his services. The general Idea of the movements is, I think, 
based upon the purpose of avoiding civil war, but to be prepared thoroughly 
for every emergency. Jackson, with the rank of colonel, goes to supersede 
General Harper at Harper's Ferry. It is most flattering to him. Say to his 
wife that It is the command of all others which he would most prefer. He is 
a noble fellow, and I rejoice in his success." 

The Virginia Military Institute 159 

Knowing them both, I immediately sought an interview and deliv- 
ered a letter and some papers I had brought from General Lee. 
Jackson and his Adjutant were at a little pine table, figuring upon 
the rolls of the troops present. They were dressed in well-worn, 
dingy uniforms of professors in the Virginia Military Institute, 
where both had recently occupied chairs. Colonel Jackson had 
issued, and sent to the camp, a short, simple order assuming the 
command, but had had no intercourse with the troops. The deposed 
ofBcers had nearly all left for home, or for Richmond, in a high 
state of indignation. After an interview of perhaps a half hour, I 
proceeded to my camp on the hill, and found the men of the 5th 
Virginia regiment in assembly, and greatly excited. They were 
deeply attached to their field-oflScers, and regarded the ordinance 
of the Convention as an outrage on freemen and volunteers ; and 
were discussing the propriety of passing denunciatory resolutions. 
On seeing me, they called for a speech. As I did not belong to 
the regiment, I declined to say anything, but ordered the men of 
the Staunton Artillery to fall into line. Then I briefly told them 
that we were required to muster into the service either for twelve 
months, or during the war, at our option, and urged them to go 
in for the full period of the war, as such action would be most 
creditable to them, and a good example to others. They unani- 
mously shouted, 'For the war! For the war!' Before they were 
dismissed, the ceremony of mustering in was complete, and I 
proudly took the roll to Colonel Jackson with the remark, 'There, 
Colonel, is the roll of your first company mustered in for the war.' 
He looked it over, and, rising, shook my hand, saying, 'Thank you. 
Captain; thank you, and please thank your men for me.' He had 
heard that there was dissatisfaction in the camps, and asked me to 
act as mustering-oflScer for the two other artillery companies 
present. Before sunset the rolls were returned. This prompt 
action of the batteries was emulated, the next day, by the other 
troops, and all were mustered in."* 

An army correspondent of one of the Southern 
papers has left us a personal sketch of Colonel Jackson, 
at this time. It clearly indicates the general impression 
of the hour, and, furthermore, portrays Jackson as he 
was recalled by more than one cadet: 

"The queer appearance of the ex-Professor on the field excited 
great merriment in this writer. The Old Dominion must be 
woefully deficient in military men, he thought, if this was the best 
she could do. To him the new colonel was not at all like a com- 
manding ofiicer. There was a painful want in him of all the 'pride, 

'Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. 1, pp. 120-121. 

160 The Military History of 

■pomp, and circumstance of glorious war.' His dress was no better 
than a private soldier's, and there was not a particle of gold lace 
about his uniform. His air was abstracted; his bearing stiff and 
awkward; he kept his own counsels; never consulted with his 
officers, and had very little to say to anybody. On horseback his 
appearance was even less impressive. Other officers, at that early 
stage of the war, when the fondness for military insignia and dis- 
play was greater than afterwards, and before the blockade had cut 
off the supply of gewgaws and decorations, made their appearance 
before their troops on prancing horses, with splendid trappings, 
and seemed desirous of showing the admiring spectators how grace- 
fully they could sit in the saddle. The new colonel was a strong 
contrast to all this. He rode an old horse which seemed to have 
little of the romance of war about him, and nothing at all fine in 
his equipment. His seat in the saddle was far from graceful; he 
leaned forward awkwardly; settled his chin from time to time in 
his lofty military stock, and looked from side to side, from beneath 
the low rim of his cadet cap, in a manner which the risible faculties 
of the correspondent could not resist. A queerer figure, and one 
which answered less to the idea of military grace, had never before 
dawned on the attention of the literary gentleman who sketched it 
for the amusement of the Southern reader." 

Among the first steps taken by Colonel Jackson for 
the organization of his command, was the selection of 
Major James W. Massie, V. M. I., 1847, who had 
served under him as a tactical officer at the Institute, 
as his Inspector- General; his old associate in the 
faculty, John Thomas Lewis Preston, as his Acting 
Assistant Adjutant-General; and Captain Marshall 
McDonald and Edward Cunningham, Assistant Pro- 
fessors, as his Assistant Inspector- General and 
Engineer Ofiicer, respectively, while Dr. Graham of 
Lexington, formerly Surgeon of the Institute, became 
his Chief Surgeon. Major Preston, who had been 
ordered to Richmond to confer with the Superintendent, 
repaired at once to Harper's Ferry, but was recalled to 
the Institute late in May.* 

♦The following extracts from the correspondence of Major Preston with 
his wife Illustrates the work of the Institute in the organization of Jac]i:son's 
command : 

May 9th, 1861. "While Massie is gone to Richmond with dispatches, 
I take as much of Jackson's responsibility as I choose. Colonels, captains, 
and officials of all ranks come to me for orders, for leave of absence, for 
directions, for privileges, for information. It is precisely, so far as I am 
concerned, like the Superintendency of the Institute, and it is my practice 
in that sort of work that gives me here more efficiency than men of more 
ability and more experience. It is astonishing to see how the Institute tells 

li!-M!m ' l ' i-l.mi-Ul.ll-l^li?tH- ' tV-l--l-Ll.Lt ^,1 



Commandant of Cadets 1841-1846 

Professor 1841-1888 

The Vikginia Militaby Institute 161 

April 22d, an order had been received at the Institute 
from General Harper at Harper's Ferry, to forward 
10,000 muskets from the Arsenal for issue, to his com- 
mand, and Captain Updike was directed to detail 25 of 
his men as an escort, under the command of Lieutenant 
Shipp. Lieutenant Shipp, however, proceeded no 
further with the escort than Staunton, at which point 
he received orders to proceed to Richmond, where he was 
assigned to duty with rank of Captain under Colonel 
Gilham as Assistant Adjutant-General in the Camp of 
Instruction. The same day. Lieutenant J. D. H. Ross 
was detailed with ten cadets to escort an ammunition 
train to Harper's Ferry. These cadets, Wight, Holt, 
Norris, Hempstead, Burruss, Burk T., Lee W., 
Turner S., Savage and Taylor M., were retained by 
Colonel Jackson at Harper's Ferry as drill-masters. 
Jackson had been at Camp Lee long enough to witness 
the immediate results obtained there by the cadets in 
charge of the instruction of the volunteers. His next 
step was to place Major Daniel Trueheart, formerly 
his assistant at the Institute, in charge of the organiza- 
tion of his artillery ; and, assisted by officers in whom he 
reposed confidence born of previous association, he 
undertook the work of hammering his command into 

Meantime, the Rev. Wilham Nelson Pendleton, of 
Lexington, had been elected Captain of the Rockbridge 
Artillery, a battery which had been organized in Lexing- 
ton and drilled by Captain John McCausland, of the 
Institute Sub-Faculty, imtil he was promoted lieu- 
tenant-colonel of the 36th Virginia Regiment, and 
ordered to northwest Virginia. Knowing the caliber of 
his old friend. Colonel Jackson requested that the Rock- 
just now. Every man from the oldest to the youngest, who has been connected 
with It, Is looked to for extra service. When Massle Is here I do some of 
the same sort of thing, but mainly I write letters for Jackson and advise him 
as far as I am able.^' 

May IStTt, ISSl. "I did not know before how well I could get through 
work which is new to me, nor did I know how much technical acquaintance 
with military matters I had absorbed by my life-long connection with the 
Institute. At all events, I have been a week, since Massie's absence, acting as 
chief aid, settling all manner of questions for colonels, majors, captains, and 
sometimes when Jackson was absent looking after his fortifications, acting 
as commander-in-chief." 


162 The Military History of 

bridge Artillery be assigned, to his command, which was 
done; and, with two of the cadet brass 6-pounders, and 
ammunition chests mounted on the bodies of hay 
wagons, the battery marched to Stavmton on May 11th, 
arriving at Harper's Ferry four days later.* 

Jackson's command was fast rounding into shape. 
As early as May 8th, he wrote his wife, "Colonels Massie 
and Preston have been of great service to me. 
Humanly speaking, I don't see how I could have ac- 
complished the amount of work I have done without 

The press now began to change its view about the 
odd-looking colonel, and we read: 

"The commanding officer at Harper's Ferry is worthy of the 
name he bears, for 'Old Hickory' himself was not a more deter- 
mined, iron-nerved man than he. Born in Virginia, educated at 
West Point, trained in the Mexican War, occupied since at the pet 
militarj' Institution of the Old Dominion, his whole life has been 
a preparation for this struggle." 

On the 23d of May, Colonel Joseph E. Johnston ar- 
rived at Harper's Ferry and superseded Jackson in 
command. The troops were almost immediately 
organized into brigades, according to States. Colonel 
Jackson was assigned to the command of the first, or, 
strictly, Virginia brigade, composed of the 2d Virginia, 
Colonel James W. Allen; 4th Virginia, Colonel J. F. 
Preston; 5th Virginia, Colonel Kenton Harper; 27th 
Virginia, Lieutenant-Colonel, John Echols; 33d Vir- 
ginia, Colonel A. C. Cummings. Colonels Allen, 
Echols, and Cummings were graduates of the Institute, 
of the Classes of '49, '43 and '44, respectively. 

When, on the 15th of June, Johnston withdrew from 
Harper's Ferry to Winchester, he left Colonel Jackson 
with his brigade at the front along the Baltimore & 
Ohio Railroad, to observe General Patterson's prepara- 

On the 2d of July, 1861, Colonel Jackson detected a 
movement on the part of the Federals, and desiring 

*Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton, Lee, pp. 140-144. 

The Virginia Military Institute 163 

to develop the intentions of the enemy directed Captain 
Pendleton to move forward the Rockbridge Battery, 
and, supported by the 5th Virginia, to open fire. Be- 
sides the two brass cadet 6-povmders, the battery now 
had two iron pieces. Three of the guns were held in 
the rear, and one of the cadet pieces only placed in 
action, about three miles from the camp. Upon dis- 
covering Pendleton's gun, the enemy's artillery opened 
a brisk fire, but gvmner David E. Moore, Jr., of Lexing- 
ton, carefully laid his piece under the directions of the 
battery commander, and fired at a squadron of cavalry 
about 800 yards distant. The first shot dispersed the 
troopers, the second disabled a gim. But eight shots in 
all were fired before the enemy retired, leaving 55 
prisoners in the hands of Colonel J. E. B. Stuart's 

This affair, called Hainesville, or Falling Waters, 
which occurred near Martinsburg, Virginia, was the 
first in which the troops under Jackson were engaged, 
and is notable in connection with the Institute inasmuch 
as David Moore, of Lexington, fired the first hostile 
cannon shot in Jackson's army, with one of the guns of 
the cadet battery.* 

July 6th, Jackson received his commission as Brig- 
adier-General, dated June 17, 1861. His promotion 
was confirmed August 28th, following. 

Captain Pendleton had been three years at West 
Point with Generals Johnston and Lee, and two years 
with Mr. Davis. On July 13, 1861, the President in 
writing to General Johnston, after hearing of the affair 
of the 2d of July, said : 

"I recollect Captain Pendleton well, and, when we were all 
younger, esteemed him highly as a soldier and a gentleman. I, 
some days since, directed that he should have rank as a Colonel, 
and be put in command of the batteries of your army."** 

•Memoirs of William Nelson Pendleton, Lee, pp. 145-146. 
The Story of a Cannoneer under Stonewall Jackson, Moore, p. 25. 
In this work the picture of the gun and the gunner may be seen. 
In 1914. David E. Moore is Commonwealth Attorney in Lexington. 
* •Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. II, p. 977. 

164 The Military History of 

Thus, both the first and second commanders of the 
guns which President Zachary Taylor presented the 
Corps of Cadets were not only present wlien they fired 
their first hostile shots, but both received their pro- 
motions almost simultaneously after the affair in which 
they were engaged, that being the prelude to Manassas. 
Colonel Pendleton later became Brigadier-General and 
Chief of Artillery, Army of Northern Virginia.* 

July 21, 1861, the great battle of First Manassas, or 
Bull Rim, was fought. We can not here give the de- 
tails of that battle, in which Brigadier-General Thomas 
Jonathan Jackson received from the lips of Bee the 
immortal sobriquet of "Stonewall" as he stood among 
the old cadet guns, which for ten long years he had 
commanded at the Institute. 

•The junior Lieutenant of the Rockbridge Artillery at Hainesville, 
William T. Poague, became Captain of the battery in 1862, Major of Artillery 
in 1863, Lieutenant-Colonel 1864, and has, for the past thirty years, been 
Treasurer of the Virginia Military Institute. He was designated by General 
Lee to lead the retreat to Appomattox in 1865. 

The Virginia Military Institute 165 



On pages 117 and 118, of the current catalogue of the 
Virginia Military Institute, one finds the following: 

C. W. Moore, Virginia, 1861, C. S. A., Cadet, killed 
First Manassas. 

S. R. Norris, Virginia, 1861, C. S. A., killed First 

J. S. MoflPett, Virginia, 1861, C. S. A., Cadet, killed 
First Manassas. 

That is all the official record contains concerning these 
youthful soldiers, and for over half a century in the 
memorial of our New Market dead, we have forgotten 
that there were others who met their death while wear- 
ing the cadet coatee.* 

The names of Moore, Moffett and Norris, while 
hitherto obscure, should be stamped upon the very heart 
of every V. M. I. cadet, and emblazoned in enduring 
form upon the highest pinnacles of Fame. 

How came they to offer up their sacrifice to the 
Southern cause? Who were they, and whence did they 
bail — these all but forgotten heroes? 

It was in the late summer of 1860, when Charlie 
Moore, Johnnie Moffett, and Charlie Norris passed 
through the sally-port of Barracks and became cadets 
at the Virginia Military Institute. Moore and Moffett 
were eighteen years old; Norris was two years their 
junior. They came from Abingdon, Virginia, Rock- 
bridge Coimty, Virginia, and Leesburg, Virginia, 
respectively, sent to the Institute by loving parents to 
be trained for their part in the dreaded future. 

•There were 19 cadets killed in battle on various fields during the war. 

166 The Military History of 

Already the omen of war had east its shadow over 
the Southland, and in the souls of strong men were 
gloomy presages of inevitable tragedy. Then, as now, 
the lilting air of youth, the echo of exuberant spirits, 
rang through the martial halls ; but in the still hours of 
night when men are wont to ponder the serious things of 
life, not even these youths could fail to discern the ever- 
darkening cloud which gathered in the North. No ears 
could fail to hear the rumbling of the approaching 

Here were soldiers then who knew war — the veterans 
of Cerro Gordo, of Palto Alto, of Monterey and 
Chapultepec, who, while they quailed, but steeled their 
hearts and labored with unceasing energy to meet the 
crisis. The genius of Gilham shone the brighter, and 
the determination of Jackson seemed the more inexor- 
able, in their stern resolve to serve Virginia — to serve 
her by inculcating in a thousand youthful breasts a- 
mature sense of duty. 

It was within the year these three yoimg men spent 
here that the Corps was electrified by those flashes from 
the soul of Jackson. They beheld him in their midst, 
standing erect, and radiant with high purpose, prepared 
to face the future. They heard him say in tones of 
heartrent anguish, when asked if he desired war, "Sir, 
as a Christian I wiU deprecate the advent of fratricidal 
strife, but as a soldier, sir, I will welcome war." Then, 
they heard him cry with clear and ringing accent, "It 
is time for Virginia to draw the sword and throw away 
the scabbard." 

Such, were the leaders in those days; and, so, it was 
natural that when the tide of invasion swept up against 
the bulwarks of Virginia, not only Smith, the Superin- 
tendent, Gilham, the Commandant, Jackson, Crutch- 
field, Rodes, Colston, Preston, Williamson, McCaus- 
land, and Shipp, the Professors, but that the entire 
Corps, should rush to the defense of Virginia. 

It was a glorious Sionday morning in April when 
Major Jackson marched the Battalion of .Cadets from 

The Virginia Military Institute 167 

Lexington to Staunton, en route to Richmond, where 
its members were to serve as drill-masters in the Camp 
of Instruction. He left in no haste. His orders were 
to move at 12 :30 p. m. The impatient cadets chafed as 
they stood in ranks awaiting the appointed time until 
which the command was not given. 

About fifty of the younger cadets were ordered to re- 
main as a guard for the Institute, and among those was 
Norris. In strange contrast was the elation of those 
who wound their way behind "Old Jack" over the blue 
hills, to the disappointment of the faithful few who 
watched the gallant Corps disappear in the haze of 
distance. It was at this very moment, alone perhaps 
in the very highest tower of Barracks, that little Norris 
felt the realization of the word "Duty" in its highest 
sense. Can we doubt that in this hour of sorest trial, 
as he strained his eyes to catch the last glint of the 
vanishing column, he wiped away the bitter tears that 
welled unbidden from his heart, and said "It is braver 
to remain than to go." 

As it always does, the conscious performance of 
duty brought to Charlie Norris his reward, for but a 
few days passed until he and nine other cadets were 
ordered to escort the powder train from the Institute 
to Harper's Ferry; and upon reporting, they found 
not Major Jackson of old, but Colonel Jackson in com- 
mand of the volunteer army there assembled, who as- 
signed them to different commands as drill-masters. 
Like Moore and Moffett in Richmond, Norris now de- 
voted all his energies to the work in hand, conscious 
that the eye of "Old Jack" was upon him. 

Soon, Beauregard began to assemble his army. The 
First Corps, or Army of the Potomac, at Manassas, 
and Joseph E. Johnston took command of the Second 
Corps, or Army of the Shenandoah, in the Valley. 

The undisciplined recruits were quickly rounded into 
shape, and in this work nearly 200 cadets labored night 
and day. Fortunate, indeed, was the South that such 
hands were available to mould the weapon of its first de- 

168 The Military History of 

fense. Now, was the value of the Institute appreciated 
by all, both friend and foe. Now, the service which 
Smith and GiUiam and Jackson had rendered, their 
people well understood. Was it not Lincoln, himself, 
who, it has been said, replied, when asked by an im- 
patient politician, why he did not crush the Confederate 
Army at once: "It might be done, were it not for a 
certain MiUtary School they have, which supplies them 
with trained officers."* But whether he ever made such 
a remark or not, well might he have done so, for the 
full import of Lincoln's supposed remark is appreciated, 
if it be recalled that among the Sieves of the Virginia 
Military Institute, in the Confederate States Armies, 
were 20 general officers, nearly 300 field officers, and 
more than 500 of lower rank, including many of the 
most responsible staff officers in the service. 

Verily, those were the days that tried men's souls 
and made strong men of boys. Indeed, our great 
national struggle was a war between boys. Statistics 
show us that the average age of the 2,400,000 or more 
enlisted men in the Northern Armies was but twenty 
years, upon their entrance into the service. But 
while there were thousands of youthful soldiers in this 
war, few rendered their flag the service which the cadets 
performed in the spring and svmmier of 1861. 
Historians in analyzing the cause of Confederate suc- 
cess at First Manassas, seem to have utterly neglected 
one of its prime factors. They do not see standing 
there in front of the Southern troops, several hundred 
drill-masters suddenly become leaders, and reflecting the 
very spirit, embodying the very soul, that won for 
"Stonewall Jackson," on that day, his immortal sobri- 
quet. Thus, in such ignorance, is history written. 

The subjects of our sketch were but three of several 
hundred cadets who found their way to the momentous 
field of Manassas; but most of these had already won 
commissions in the army, and had changed the natty 

*I can find no real authority for this remark, though Lincoln frequently 
declared that the Federal troops were not fighting raw mflltla but troops disci- 
plined by highly trained officers. 

The Virginia Military Institute 169 

coatee for the long frock coat of a Confederate officer. 
The Corps which left Lexington in April had dissolved, 
ere McDowell crossed the Potomac, but there were still 
some of its members serving in their original capacity 
as drill-masters at Richmond, Harper's Ferry, and with 
Beauregard, at Manassas. Such was the case with 
Moore, Moffett, and Norris. 

On the memorable morning of July 21, 1861, swept 
on by the ardour of youth, Moffett and Moore entered 
the fight, with the first sotind of battle, as volunteer 
captains of the companies they had drilled so faithfully. 
And not far off was httle Norris hastening from the 
Valley with Johnston's troops. He had watched his 
older comrades with envy when they left him in the 
Barracks; but no longer was he the immature lad of 
Lexington. A soldier's responsibilities now rested on 
his shoulders as he sped over the roads with Jackson and 
his men, to the aid of Beauregard. While spurring on 
the men of his company, with which he had toiled, and 
over which he was now in command, in the absence of 
his captain, he was no doubt thinking of his cadet 
friends at Manassas, and chafing lest he should be too 
late to join them in battle. 

At last,, the grey canopy of smoke marked for his eyes 
the fretted field. A few minutes more, and he had 
entered the conflict. Some strange power carried him 
on with a speed and endurance imknown to him before ; 
and, rushing forward at the head of his men, he was 
soon face to face with Ricketts' gims, in the blast of 
which Moore and Moffett had already fallen. "Come 
on, boys, quick, and we can whip them!" he shrilly cried, 
and these words just uttered, he sank to the earth to 
rise no more.* 

The horrors of that day all know. Nor was the sacri- 
fice vain, for Manassas gave to the world "Stonewall" 

*NoTB — Captain Robert McCuUoch, of St. Louis, V. M. I., '61, the friend 
and comrade of Moore, Moffett, and Norris, also served at First Manassas as 
a volunteer cadet captain. Though wounded, he continued to serve with such 
conspicuous gallantry that he was promoted Immediately after the battle 
to regular rank, finally reaching the grade of Captain. Learning of Moore's 
death? he sought out his body after the fighting ceased, buried it, marked 
the grave, and thus enabled Mrs. Moore to recover the remains of her son. 

170 The Military Histoey of 

Jackson, one whose memory will inspire humanity with 
noble impulses as long as the brave worship at the altar 
of Christianity. His idealized figure alone the whole 
world now sees standing there amid the belching guns, 
as Bee and Bartow saw it in reality, ere they fell. But 
the mist of time has obscured from our eyes the 
dreader scenes of that day. There, upon the field, when 
the smoke of battle had mingled with the dark clouds, 
when the roar of the conflict had died away, lay the rigid 
forms of three soldier lads. Each marked the far ad- 
vance of the battle line. In the gray coatee of each was 
found the rent through which a soul ascended to await 
the coming of the leader to whose glory they had con- 
tributed so much of blood and valour. Let belated fame 
with her light now search the stricken field and cast her 
discerning rays upon their pallid cheeks, and somewhere 
on the pages of her imdying record inscribe the names 
of Moore, Mofett, and Norris. 

The Virginia Militaby Institute 171 



April 29, 1861, Jefferson Davis, President of the 
newly-formed Confederacy, addressed an interesting re- 
port to the Confederate Congress, detailing at length 
the executive measures up to that time, and offering 
many valuable recommendations. The former Secre- 
tary of War of the United States, thoroughly con- 
versant with all matters pertaining to army organiza- 
tion, wrote : 

"To secure a thorough military education, it is deemed essential 
that officers should enter upon the study of their profession at an 
early period of life, and have elementary instruction in a military 
school. Until such school shall be established, it is recommended 
that cadets be appointed and attached to companies until they 
shall have attained the age, and have acquired the knowledge, to 
fit them for the duties of lieutenants."* 

Pursuant to this wise recommendation, the Act of 
Congress providing for the increase of the military 
establishment of the Confederate States, amending the 
original Act creating the army, and approved May 16th, 
included the following section: 

"Section 8. That until a military school shall be established 
for the elementary instruction of officers for the Army, the Presi- 
dent shall be authorized to appoint cadets from the several States 
in number proportionate to their representation in the House of 
Representatives, and ten, in addition, to be selected by him at large 
from the Confederate States, who shall be attached to companies 
in service in any branch of the Army as supernumerary officers, 
with the rank of 'Cadet,' who shall receive the monthly pay of 
$40.00, and be competent for promotion at such time, and under 
such regulations, as may be prescribed by the President, or here- 
after established by law."** 

* Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. I, p. 267. 
**Ibid., p. 327. 

172 The Military History of 

From this measure it is clearly seen that at the out- 
set the Confederate Congress contemplated the estab- 
lishment of a military academy for the education of its 
officers. But upon discovering that such an institution 
was already available, inasmuch as Virginia, which 
possessed a School of Arms, second only to West Point, 
had joined the Confederacy April 17th, the necessity 
of creating another School at great expense no longer 

Upon the joint recommendation of Governor Letcher 
and President Davis, the Confederate Congress, early 
in the fall of 1861, ordered the Board of Visitors of 
the Virginia Mihtary Institute to reopen the School, 
January 1, 1862, and put into full operation the regular 
exercises which had been suspended since July 18th, pre- 
ceding, when the Corps was furloughed. During the 
summer it had been announced that the Institute would 
not be reopened in the fall, as previously stated. 

Colonel Smith, strange to say, vigorously opposed 
the reopening of the School. He argued that the rest- 
lessness of the cadets, the impossibility of securing ade- 
quate supplies of provisions, clothing, fuel, books, etc., 
etc., was a difficulty which would increase as the war 
progressed. But the authorities insisted that the Insti- 
tute was a necessity, and, that the Confederacy was 
compelled to depend upon it to a great extent for its 
future supply of officers. 

Accordingly, the Board of Visitors met on the second 
Tuesday in September, and took steps to assemble the 
faculty, the members of which were widely scattered, 
and all serving as officers in the army. Among the 
responses to the caU of the Board, the following letter 
was received from the Professor of Natural and Ex- 
perimental Philosophy: 

"Headquarters First Brigade, 2d Corps, A. P., 

"Centreville, October 22, 1861. 

"Gentlemen — Your circular of the 9th inst. has been received, 
and I beg leave to say, in reply, that I only took the field from a 
sense of duty, and that the obligation that brought me into the 

The Virginia Military Institute 173 

service still retains me in it, and will probably continue to do so 
as long as the war shall last. At the close of hostilities, I desire 
to resume the duties of my chair, and, accordingly, respectfully 
request that, if consistent with the interest of the Institute, the 
action of the Board of Visitors may be such as to admit of my 
return, upon the restoration of peace. 

"Respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson, 
"Prof. Nat. and Ex. Philosophy, V. M. I. 

"General Wm. H. Richardson, 
"General T. H. Haymond, 

Having been overruled, Colonel Smith, the Superin- 
tendent, now set himself about the task of reorganizing 
the School, with his usual energy. Under date of No- 
vember 23d, 1861, from his post at Craney Island, in 
Norfolk Harbor, where he was in command of the 
Artillery defenses. Colonel Smith addressed a letter to 
the Adjutant- General of Virginia, from which the 
following is an extract : 

"I am anxious that the Board shall settle the question, as far 
as they can do it, with regard to the connection of the Institute 
with the Southern Confederacy. I think that all that is valuable in 
the art of war may be secured by having an understanding with the 
Confederate Government that at each annual examination the 
Secretary of War shall notify the Board of Visitors of the number 
of officers required for the military service, then send a board of 
examiners, to meet when the Board is in session, that they may 
examine the graduating classes, and report to the President the 
names of such as are recommended for commissions in the Army, 
the arm of service for which they are fitted, etc. This would give 
the Government all the advantage it might require of the School." 

General Richardson at once forwarded this letter to 
the Secretary of War, stating that the Institute would 
be reopened January 1st, that the Board desired to 
make the School subserve the interests of the service 
in every way possible, and requesting suggestions and 
cooperation from the President and the War Depart- 

•Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. I, p. 537. 

174 The Military History of 

At its fall meeting, the Board had elected Major 
Scott Shipp, V. M. I., 1859, 21st Virginia Regiment, 
Commandant of Cadets. Major Shipp had served since 
graduation, it will be recalled, as an assistant professor. 
The change was a welcome one to Colonel Gilham, who, 
as we have seen, had expected in 1860 to be reheved 
in order that he might devote his undivided attention 
to his academic department. His return to the Institute 
was not, therefore, opposed to his inclinations, inasmuch 
as he was still deeply interested in scientific research. 

Major Shipp was on sick leave at the time he received 
his orders to return, and did so, much against his will. 
He had served with credit in the West Virginia cam- 
paign, was ambitious, and preferred active service in the 
field with his regiment, to a less stirring, if more useful, 
career at the Institute. But those familiar with his 
eminent qualifications for the important ofiice of Com- 
mandant of Cadets urged upon him the view that in 
no way could an officer better serve his coimtry than 
in the position offered him, pointing out the great possi- 
bilities of the office at a time when the cry for trained 
officers in the lower grades was growing louder and 
louder every day. Yielding to the urgent representa- 
tions of his friends, Major Shipp finally accepted the 
office which he filled with distinguished ability "for 
twenty-eight years. 

When the reorganization of the army occurred in 
April, 1862, Lieutenant-Colonel John M. Patton, Jr., 
V. M. I., 1846, succeeded Colonel Gilham in command 
of the 21st Virginia Regiment, and Major Scott Shipp 
was elected Lieutenant-Colonel of the regiment {vice 
Patton promoted) ; but Shipp lost his commission in a 
most imusual way, for after he was elected Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the 21st Virginia, Captain Morgan, the ad- 
jutant, had his office declared vacant on the ground that 
he could not leave the Institute, an action entirely un- 
authorized by Shipp. 

At the outbreak of the war, there were numerous 
military schools in the South, for many of the States 

The Virginia Military Institute 175 

had established schools after the model of the Institute. 
First, South Carolina, with its well-endowed schools, 
at Charleston and Columbia; then Georgia, at Marietta; 
Kentucky, at Frankfort; Tennessee, at Nashville; 
North Carolina, at Charlotte and Hillsboro ; Louisiana, 
at Alexandria; Arkansas, at Little Rock; Florida, at 
Tallahassee; then, Texas; and finally Alabama, in the 
thorough reorganization of its State University, at 
Tuscaloosa. And, thus, had no fewer than ten Southern 
States followed the guidance of Virginia. 

The operation of all of these institutions during the 
war was greatly embarrassed by the Confederate Con- 
scription Acts, the first of which "entitled an act to pro- 
vide for the public defense," approved April 16, 1862, 
did not exempt cadets of the Southern military schools. 
This Act annulled all previous contracts made by 
volunteers, and virtually constituted all men over 
eighteen years of age and under thirty-five, soldiers, dur- 
ing the continuance of the war. The provisions with- 
drew from State control all male citizens within the age 
prescribed, and made them subject to the control of the 
President of the Confederacy, during the war. 

Alabama and South Carolina complained bitterly 
against the conscription of their cadets; and Governor 
Brown, of Georgia, became involved in a serious con- 
troversy with the President over the execution of the 
Conscript Act. Governor Letcher also sought to secure 
exemption for the cadets of the Institute, but all in vain. 
It was suggested to him by the President that a test 
case be made by causing a cadet to be called into service 
under the law, and Colonel Smith applying for a writ 
of habeas corpus for the conscript. But this was not 
necessary, for October 14, 1862, the Superintendent was 
peremptorily ordered by the Governor of Virginia not 
to surrender any cadet claimed as a conscript by the 
Confederate authority, until the constitutionality of the 
law should be tested, the legislative will of the State 
ascertained, or until further orders.* At all times, 

♦Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. Ill, pp. 722-723. 

176 The Military History of 

however, the Corps as a miUtary unit was held, by the 
Governor's orders, subject to the will of General Lee, 
and, as we shall see, was freely employed by him. 

Such was also the case with the Citadel Military 
Academy, of South Carolina. Numbering about 60 
cadets in 1861, and something over 100 in 1863, that 
Corps was employed repeatedly during the war to man 
the defenses of Charleston, and other exposed points. 
During the operations of Major-General Samuel Jones, 
between December 5th and 31st, 1864, leading up to the 
evacuation of Savannah, Georgia, the Citadel Cadet 
Corps served as a unit.* Arriving at Pocotaligo on 
the 6th of December, it was designated to guard the 
Tulfinny trestle, together with a battalion of the 32d 
Georgia Regiment, and a section of artillery. As the 
enemy approached the Cadet Corps, commanded by. 
Major White, was moved rapidly forwarded in splendid 
fashion, and was preparing to attack, when the troops 
on its left gave way and fell back across the Coosaw- 
hatchie River; whereupon the cadets were withdrawn, 
after having actually come under fire at long range. 
Major White and his Corps were highly complimented 
by the commanding general for their gallant conduct.** 

In 1865, the Citadel Cadet Corps was attached to 
McGrath's South Carolina brigade and fell back with 
Hardee before Sherman, as the latter pressed north- 

The Attorney- General, however, in spite of the serv- 
ice the Institute and other miUtary schools were 
capable of rendering, and actually did render, was com- 
pelled to give an opinion declaring that the only possible 
exemption of those in the military service from active 
duty, was in the case of Ordnance Department em- 
ployees ; and Congress refused to extend this exemption 
to cadets of military schools, on the grovmd that such 
institutions would prove asylums for those capable of 
bearing arms and wishing to escape active military 

•Jones had previoualy employed the Corps of Cadets, V. M. I., as we shall 
see, against Averlll in 1863, on two occasions while commanding the Depart- 
ment of Western Virginia. 

••Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XLIV, pp. 442-446. 

The Virginia Military Institute 177 

service. In this narrow view Congress preferred to 
leave the matter to the executive discretion, depending 
on the President to enforce service from the cadets in 
the various schools, only when the exigencies of the 
country required. And, so, it remained to the end of 
the war, in spite of every effort to correct the letter of 
the law. 

As far as the Institute was concerned, the law 
actually worked no hardship ; for, although efforts were 
made, from time to time, to conscript cadets, it was 
soon a generally recognized fact that the President 
would not enforce the law, to the disadvantage of the 

As the age hmit of men liable to miUtary duty was 
but eighteen, the Board thought wise to stimulate ma- 
triculation at the Institute, and thereby enhance its use- 
fulness, by fixing the minimum age of cadets at sixteen, 
instead of seventeen. The expected results were 
realized; for, soon after the reopening of the Institute, 
the Corps nvimbered nearly 300 cadets, 50 of whom were 
appointed by the President, and the School was recog- 
nized by all as the "West Point of the Con- 

"Adjutant-General's Office, Virginia, 

"Richmond, June 13, 1868. 

"His Excellency, Jefferson Davis, 

"President of the Confederate States of America. 

"Sir — The Virginia Military Institute is filled to the utmost 
capacity, and, although the utmost order prevails, with an earnest, 
even zealous attention to study, and obedience to all the rules of 
discipline, there is coupled with the desire of each cadet to complete 
his course a restless feeling of uncertainty as to whether they 
ought not, every one of them, to be in the field, and an apprehension 
that the war may be over before they have struck one blow for 
Southern liberty. 

"It is understood that you regard this Institution with much 
interest as being to the Confederate States, to a considerable extent, 
what West Point was to the late United States, and as possessing 
the capacity beyond any other Southern institution of training the 
best officers for the Army. 


178 The Military History of 

"In this view, if it shall be your opinion that the cadets are 
more in line of their duty to our country in the course of training 
at the Military Institute, and will in fact render more important 
service to the Southern Confederacy by completing their course 
than by entering the Army before they graduate, I am well assured 
that a full expression of your opinion and wishes will have a 
controlling influence over them, and effectually remove all doubt or 
apprehension in their minds as to the line both of duty and 

"The Board of Visitors and the Superintendent are most anxious 
to direct the operations of the Institute so as most effectually to 
meet the wants and wishes of the Confederate Government, and I 
beg leave to say for them that it will be most gratifying to receive 
from you any suggestions or recommendations as to the character 
and duration of the course of instruction, and on any and all other 
matters which in your judgment has, or may have, an important 
bearing upon its prospective value to our common cause. 

"I beg leave, therefore, with the highest respect, to ask a full 
and unreserved expression of your opinion upon the whole subject. 
"Very respectfully and truly, your obedient servant, 
"Wm. H. Richardson, 
"Adjutant-General of Virginia, 

"Ex-Officio Member of the Board."* 

"Richmond, Va., June 17, 1863. 

"General W. H. Richardson, 

"Adjutant-General of Virginia, Richmond, Va. 

"General — I have the honor, by direction of the President, to 
acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 13th instant, in re- 
lation to the Virginia Military Institute. The President takes a 
warm interest in the efficiency and success of the military schools 
in the several States of the Confederacy, but having had no oppor- 
tunity to form any opinion by observation of the relative merits of 
the systems of education pursued at these institutions, he does not 
desire to be understood to express any especial preference for any. 
His Excellency is debarred from expressing any opinion as to 
whether the cadets at the Virginia Military Institute do better 
service to their country by pursuing their studies than by joining 
the Army, because his action in regard to the matter must neces- 
sarily conform to the law, which requires all citizens who are over 
eighteen years of age to enter the service, and which leaves him no 
discretionary power to which the case of cadets who have become 
liable to military duty can be properly referred. The President 

•Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. II, pp 592-593. 

The Virginia Military Institute 179 

would be glad to comply with the request of the Board of Visitors, 
as expressed by you, that he should make suggestions as to the 
'character and duration of the course of instruction,' etc., but the 
pressure of public business will only allow him to refer the Board 
to a report made by him in 1860 on the subject of military edu- 
cation at West Point, in which his views are given at length. 

"With assurances of the President's respect and esteem, I re- 
main. General, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"William M. Browne, 

"Colonel and Aide-de-Camp."* 

Upon the reorganization of the army, in April, 1862, 
hvindreds of the eleves of the Virginia Military Insti- 
tute, whose training and service entitled them to higher 
command than they had hitherto exercised, were recog- 
nized by the government and the army. It was 
from then on that such men as Robert E. Rodes, 
William Mahone, W. Y. C. Himies, Gabriel C. 
Wharton, John Echols, Reuben Lindsay Walker, 
Raleigh E. Colston, James E. Slaughter, James H. 
Lane, James A. Walker, Thomas T. Mvmford, John 
McCausland, Birkett D. Fry, WilHam R. Terry, 
Wilham H. Payne, A. C. Jones, J. R. Jones, A. J. 
Vaughan, James B. Terrill, and James W. Allen, 
began to forge ahead in the higher grades of the service, 
and that others began to occupy some of the most 
prominent staff positions in the army, among which, a 
few, at least, should be mentioned. 

Colonel Walter H, Taylor, '57, was Adjutant-Gen- 
eral, Army of Northern Virginia; Colonel Edwin J. 
Harvie, '55, Inspector- General to General Joseph E. 
Johnston; Colonel Briscoe G. Baldwin, '43, Chief of 
Ordnance, and Major A. R. H. Ranson, '47, Assistant 
Chief of Ordnance, Army of Northern Virginia; Major 
Giles B. Cooke, '59, Assistant Adjutant-General, Army 
of Northern Virginia; Brigadier-General Reuben 
Lindsay Walker, '45, Chief of Artillery, 3d Corps; 
Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield, '55, Chief of Artillery, 
2d Corps; Thomas H. Carter, '47, Chief of Artillery, 

•Ibid., p. 597. 

180 The Military History of 

Early's Army; and Robert Preston Chew, '61, Chief 
of Horse Artillery, Army of Northern Virginia. 

We have already said that wide-spread prejudice 
existed in the Southern Army against the graduates of 
West Point, and the Institute, because of the great 
nxunber of them commissioned at the beginning of the 

There were but 282 West Pointers who joined the 
Confederacy, and most of them attained high rank. 
There were nearly three times this number of V. M. I. 
men commissioned in the service (810). We are com- 
pelled to beheve, therefore, that another prejudice be- 
sides that of the civilian soldiers militated against the 
Institute, and before the close of the war it was a con- 
trolling one ; for West Pointers were unwilling to share 
honors with the Sieves of any other School of Arms, the 
V. M. I. not excepted. But there were some V. M. I. 
men who, as we have seen, simply could not be denied 
their due. 

The fact remains, however, that at the close of the 
war, WiUiam Mahone and Reuben Lindsay Walker, 
and a few other graduates of the Institute, were the 
only general officers except West Pointers remaining 
in responsible positions, for the West Point influence 
had triumphed. The fact also remains that Mahone's 
celebrated division was practically the only fighting 
organization left at the time General Lee surrendered 
the Army of Northern Virginia. Leaving the trenches 
at Petersburg with 30,000 men, April 2d, General Lee 
arrived at Appomattox, April 9th, with 7,892 organized 
infantry. The Parole rolls include a grand total of 
28,231 officers and men for ten divisions, many of the 
number having rejoined their commands after the sur- 
render. But of the actual number present at the sur- 
render, nearly half were in Mahone's five brigades, 
which contained 3,537 officers and men. 

After the battle of Gettysburg, and the failure of the 
second invasion of the North, General Lee, with that 
magnanimity by which he was characterized, assuming 

The Virginia Military Institute 181 

all blame, and willing to turn over the command of the 
army "to one better able to lead it" than himself, should 
there be such an one, tendered his resignation to the 
President, and recommended that a younger officer be 
appointed in his stead. Mr. Davis wisely dechned to 
consider the matter and persuaded General Lee to con- 
tinue in command; and the fact that he had tendered 
his resignation was kept a profound secret for a long 
time. When it did come out, however, there was great 
curiosity on the part of all to know whom General Lee 
had recommended as his successor. 

"Of the fact that some younger general was recom- 
mended by Lee at the time of his resignation, I have 
undoubted authority, and, if any body questions it, I 
can make that authority known any time," wrote 
Major- General Benjamin F. Butler, of the Federal 

"It has come out, however, that General William 
Mahone was the man recommended by Lee, and the 
statement is from Lee's own mouth. Since Mahone's 
change of politics, in Virginia it has been most stoutly 
contradicted. It is but just to Mahone to say that, 
at that time, he was ignorant both of Lee's resignation, 
and of his recommendation."** 

To substantiate this assertion, General Butler pre- 
sented in his book a facsimile letter, the text of which 
is as follows: 

"Washington, D. C, March 10, 1869. 

"My dear General — It gives me great pleasure to hand you a 
-written statement of a conversation at the table of General R. E. 
Lee, which, years ago, I stated to your wife, yourself, and some 
twenty gentlemen at your table. The occasion was the first com- 
mencement of Washington and Lee University. General Wade 
Hampton delivered the address before the Literary Societies, and 
I, before the Alumni. General Lee gave a sort of State dinner 
to thirty gentlemen. I think I was the only officer at the table 
below the rank of colonel. And the honor was accorded me because 
I was the orator of the day. After the cloth was drawn, and the 
Tvine began to circulate, some gentlemen, a brigadier from Georgia 

•Butler's Book, p. 880. 

182 The Military History of 

(I think it was General Jackson from the lower end of the table), 
asked General Lee if he did not think Gordon, of Georgia, had 
developed the highest qualities for command, General Lee, with his 
habitual quiet dignity, replied, 'Where all did so well, certainly it 
would be invidious and improper for me to particularize. General 
Gordon was a brave and efficient soldier.' Then, rising, he said, 
'Gentlemen, fill up your glasses. Etiquette demanded that this 
official dinner should be made in accordance with rank; gentlemen, 
I propose a toast which all will drink with pleasure to the privates 
of the Army of Northern Virginia, who, I still sometimes think, 
came near winning immortal fame for us.' The toast was drunk 
standing. After this the conversation became general, and some 
one down the table seemed to be telling a good story. General 
Hampton sat on the right, and I, as orator of the day, sat on the 
left, of Lee. Turning to Hampton, General Lee said something in 
a low tone. I leaned back, as I thought it was possible it might be 
something confidential. Laying his hand upon my knee, he said, 
'Lean over. Major; I only wish Hampton and yourself to hear.' 
Then, 'General Hampton, in the dark days which preceded the fall 
of the Confederacy, for a good while, I was almost hopeless. And 
you know I did not spare this poor life, for I thought it became me 
to fall on one of those fields of glory. My artillery was handled 
well. The cavalry was in" the very hands, after the death of Stuart, 
that I preferred to any other. But I often thought if a stray ball 
should carry me off who could best command the incomparable 
infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia. Of course, I could 
not nominate a successor — that whole matter was in the hands of 
the President. But, among the younger men, I thought William 
Mahone had developed the highest qualities for organization and 

"The words were written down by me that evening, and are in 
my desk at EUwood. I write them now hastily in a public room. 
But I know they are accurate. We drifted far apart, politically, 
and I so entirely condemned your policy and methods that I would 
not give them to the world. Now, I cheerfully write them, and, 
as far as I am concerned, this may be an open letter to the world. 

"Very truly yours, 

"J. Horace Lacy. 
"To General William Mahone." 

Major Lacy was a gentleman of the highest standing 
in Virginia. The truth of his evidence has been bitterly 
assailed and denied, as often as it has been presented; 
but in the nature of things, it can not be disproven. It 
was not denied by General Wade Hampton, who died 
in 1902. Wade Hampton, the very soul of honor, could 

The Virginia Military Institute 183 

have dispelled all doubts with a word. But the writer 
neither intends to defend the Lacy letter, nor to pose as 
the champion of WilUam Mahone, V. M. I., 1847. It is 
sufficient to know that General Lee entertained the 
highest respect for his military abilities, and that his 
career as a leader grew more illustrious with every suc- 
ceeding day of his service in the Army of Northern 
Virginia. Had the war continued longer, he would, un- 
doubtedly, have received the highest recognition, and 
brought even greater credit upon the School of Arms in 
which he was trained. 

184 The Military History of 



December 18, 1861, the Superintendent was re- 
lieved of his command at Craney Island by the War 
Department, and returned to the Institute, under the 
orders of the Board of Visitors. In order that he might 
bear rank of equal dignity with that of his subordinate 
professor, Jackson, who had been promoted Major- 
General, October 7th, the Superintendent was now ap- 
pointed Major- General, Virginia Reserves. 

On reaching the Institute, General Smith found him- 
self without the aid of a single professor or assistant 
professor, with upwards of a hvmdred cadets ready to 
report for duty, January 1st. The orders of the War 
Department detaching Colonel Gilham from the bri- 
gade which he was commanding, and Major Scott 
Shipp, from his regiment in the field, had been tempo- 
rarily suspended by General Jackson, under an 
emergency, and they did not report to the Superin- 
tendent until January 16th, and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Preston, of Jackson's staff, not until January 31st.* 
Meantime, Major Shipp had reported for duty with his 
regiment December 1st, in Staunton, from which point 
he accompanied it down the Valley, taking part in the 
Romney Campaign early in January. On the day 
Romney was captured Major Shipp commanded the 
skirmish line with conspicuous ability. 

Dr. R. L. Madison, however, reported on the 2d, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Williamson on the 9th; and 
Llewellyn Crittenden, E. L. Yancey, and Walter 
Bowie, all of the Class of 1861, were immediately ap- 
pointed assistant professors, and assigned to tactical 

♦The order relieving these officers from duty In the field was S. O. No. 
276, A. & I. C. O. Richmond, Dec. 27, 1861. 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 185 

On the 16th, Major John D. H. Ross, and Lieu- 
tenant Semmes, also reported. 

Exercises were commenced January 2d; and, with 
the Superintendent and the Surgeon alone present, the 
new cadets were enrolled, and the Corps reorganized. 
By the end of January, the Corps mmibered 232 cadets 
present for duty, including 22 in the Second, and 65 in 
the Third Class, or a total of but 87 old cadets. Ad- 
ditional cadets soon reported, so that the total enroll- 
ment, February 4, 1861, was 269. Over fifty applicants 
were refused during January alone. 

Upon the reopening of the Institute, the Superin- 
tendent received a commimication from his Excellency, 
Governor Letcher, stating that inquiry had been made 
of him by the Secretary of State^ Hon. R. M. T. 
Hunter, on behalf of the President, if the 56 Con- 
federate Cadets appointed by him could be admitted to 
the Institute, and on what terms. General Smith im- 
mediately rephed that the Institute would receive such 
cadets on the same basis as Pay Cadets from other 
States, provided the Confederate Government would 
be responsible for the accounts of the same; and 
preparations were at once made to enlarge the Barracks 
for their accommodation. 

There could be no doubt now that the Confederacy 
regarded the Virginia Military Institute as its National 
School of Arms; and, in order to place the course of 
practical military instruction on a par with that at West 
Point, the Superintendent urged the immediate pro- 
vision of 36 horses for the instruction of .the cadets in 
cavalry and light artillery drill. These important arms 
of the service should be cared for at the Institute, he 
urged, and, in his opinion, no expense should be spared 
for that purpose. "We have seen," said he, "what has 
been accomplished by the cadets in the camp of in- 
struction, for infantry, and in part, in the artillery 
camp. More can yet be done, and it should not be 

186 The Military History of 

The heaviest loss which had befallen the Institute up 
to this time was the death of General Philip St. George 
Cocke, on December 26, 1861. Appointed Brigadier- 
General, October 21, 1861, while President of the 
Board, after commanding a brigade with distinction at 
First Manassas, he was finally compelled, at the end of 
eight months' service, to retire to his home in Powhatan 
County, where he died at the age of fifty-three. 

He had served on the Board from 1846 to 1852, and 
from 1858 until the time of his death. From the day of 
its founding, he had been one of the foremost supporters 
of the Institute, not only contributing large sums of 
money, and unremitting labors to its welfare; but, also 
by enrolling as cadets his three grown sons. It was 
with the funds secretly provided by General Cocke that 
the Superintendent visited Europe in 1858 to study the 
continental systems of military instruction, and it was 
his large donation to the Institute that founded the first 
School of Scientific Agriculture in the State of Vir- 
ginia. Even to-day, two cadets are still educated by 
the Cocke scholarships. In Philip St. George Cocke, 
the West Pointer, and former artillery officer, the Insti- 
tute, as a technical School of Arms, found its most able 
advocate and executor of the original ideas of Crozet. 
All honor to his memory ; and may a fitting monument 
some day be erected at the Institute, along with those 
of Claude Crozet, Francis Henney Smith, John Thomas 
LcAvis Preston, Wilham Gilham, Matthew Fontaine 
Maury, John Mercer Brooke, Scott Shipp, and William 
H. Richardson, to memorialize the services of this re- 
markable galaxy of men to Virginia and her great 
School of Arms. Had General Cocke with his great 
fortune survived the war, it seems certain many of the 
difficulties in which the Institute was involved in the 
dark days of reconstruction would have been averted.* 

The first weeks of the session of 1862 comprised a 
period of reorganization fraught with great difficulties. 

*As these lines are written news of the death of his second son, Philip 
St. George Cocke, comes to hand. Mr. Cocke was a cadet at New Market 
as was his younger brother, the -late William E. C. Cocke (two of whose sons 
were Cadets at the Institute) ; an older brother, Lieutenant .John B. Cocke, was 
graduated in the Class of 1856. 

The Virginia Military Institute 187 

Many parents sent their sons to the Institute to avail 
themselves of the practical exemption they would there 
receive from conscription, knowing, however, the 
liability of the Corps to military service. There was no 
First Class from which to draw mature cadet officers; 
only a small Second Class, and a Third Class also small 
in number, which had served but a pai't of the preceding 
year. The plebes were largely in the majority, and 
many of them matriculated under virtual duress. Such 
was the problem confronting the new Commandant, 
Major Shipp, made more difficult by reason of the 
resignation of cadets from day to day to join the army 
with the consent of their parents, the irregular report- 
ing of new cadets, and the desertion of others in order 
to enlist in the army. 

A strong hand was required to bring discipline out 
of such an organization; and, that it was apphed, is 
evidenced by the fact that all cadets deficient at the ex- 
aminations, or neglectful of their mihtary duty, were 
promptly dismissed, those over eighteen years of age 
being turned over to the army. Over 70 cadets were 
thus dismissed at one examination; but others were 
always at hand to keep the Corps well recruited. The 
difficulty was that many were purposely neglectful, in 
order to enter the active military service. 

Great difficulties were also experienced in providing 
uniform cloth, shoes, clothing in general, and rations, 
for so large a body of cadets; but, with the aid of the 
Quartermaster-General, supphes were secured and 
transported to Lexington from the far South by the 
direction of the President. The blockade-rtinners con- 
tributed books and many other necessary articles. 

The arms issued to the Corps at this time were the 
old smooth-bore percussion cap muskets, formerly used 
by the cadets. They were very heavy, imserviceable, 
and, therefore, unsatisfactory; but more efficient small 
arms were not to be had, and were even much needed in 
the army. 

Major Shipp conducted regular artillery practice 
with the smooth-bore guns at the Institute, including 

188 The Militaky History of 

the howitzers, the 6-pounders of the Cadet Battery, and 
several old mortars stored in the Arsenal. The iron 
rifles had been taken from the cadets in Richmond, the 
preceding April. 

As the Corps grew from week to week, additions to 
the faculty became necessary. Early in April, there- 
fore, Lieutenant-Colonel James W. Massie, '49, of 
Jackson's staff, physically disabled for active service 
in the field, reported for duty as Professor of Mathe- 
matics, and was assigned by the War Department to 
the command of the local Home Guards which he was 
directed to organize and discipline. 

In April, Captains Abel S. Scott, '60, and Henry A. 
Wise, '61, also reported for duty, the latter on parole, 
and were attached to the Tactical Department. 

Before spring, the Corps had been hammered into 
excellent shape, notwithstanding the constant losses and 
accessions ; and, while great attention had been devoted 
to military instruction throughout the winter, the near 
approach of the enemy in the western part of the State 
required the suspension in April of all academic duty, 
in order that more time might be available for practical 
instruction in the field. 

On the 22d of April, the Superintendent announced 
in orders his purpose of tendering the services of the 
Corps to General Jackson, who was then operating 
against the enemy in the Valley District. This order 
filled the Corps with the utmost zeal. Resignations and 
disorders now ceased and all bent their energies to the 
work before them, praying that active service would 
soon be demanded of them. 

In order to understand the sentiments animating the 
Corps, at this time, it is necessary to know the feeling 
which the cadets entertained for the Army of the Valley. 
General Jackson they regarded as their special tutelary 
genius. He belonged to the Institute, heart and soul, 
and his name was still borne on its rolls. According to 
his own expressed wishes he was considered as on leave 
of absence in the field. Colonels Preston and Massie, 

The Virginia Military Institute 189 

of his staff, temporarily relieved from field duty, were 
at the Institute, but Major Daniel Trueheart, '50, was 
still servmg as Jackson's Chief of Artillery, and Dr. 
E. L. Graham as his Surgeon. 

His army was composed at this time as follows: 

First Brigade ("Stonewall") : 

Brigadier-General Garnett 

Second Brigade : 

Colonel Burks ■ 

2d Virginia 
4tli Virginia 
5th Virginia 
27th Virginia 
33d Virginia 

Third Brigade: 

21st Virginia 

4i2d Virginia 

4i8th Virginia 

1st Regular Battalion (Irish) 

{10th Virginia 
23d Virginia 
37th Virginia 

McLaughlin's Battery 8 guns 

Water's Battery 4 guns 

Carpenter's Battery 4 guns 

Marye's Battery 4 guns 

Shumaker's Battery 4 guns 

Chew's Horse Artillery Battery 3 guns 

7th Virginia Cavalry 

The infantry numbered about 3,600, the cavalry 600 
and the six batteries, with their 27 gims, about 500 men. 

In this command were at least 100 former cadets 
serving in various capacities under their old professor. 
In the 2d Virginia, there were Colonel James W. Allen, 
'43, Lieutenant-Colonel Raleigh T. Colston, '46, Major 
Lawson Botts, '49, and Major Francis B. Jones, '48.* 
In the 4th Virginia, there were Major William R. 
Terry, '50 (subsequently Colonel in the 27th Regiment) , 
Colonel John Echols, '43, and Major Wilham W. 
Gordon, '50, who succeeded Echols in command. In 
the 33d Virginia, were Colonel Arthur C. Cummings, 

'Francis Lackland, '49, as Lieutenant-Colonel, commanded tbls regiment 
at First Manassas. 

190 The Military History of 

'44, Lieutenant-Colonel John R. Jones, '48, and 
John F. Neff, '58 (later Colonel of the regiment). 

The Artillery of the Stonewall Brigade, at this time, 
consisted of the Rockbridge Battery, of Lexington, and 
the Alleghany Battery from the neighborhood of Cov- 
ington. Nearly every member of the former was well 
known to the officers and cadets of the Institute, and 
in it they naturally felt a proprietary interest. Its com- 
mander, WilUam McLaughlin, was a member of the 
Board of Visitors. Joseph H. Carpenter, '56, com- 
manded the Alleghany battery, and in it were several 
old cadets, including the Orderly- Sergeant. So much 
for the Stonewall Brigade. 

In the Second Brigade, commanded by Colonel 
Jesse S. Burks, '44, there were Colonel John M. Patton, 
Jr., '46 (who had succeeded Colonel Gilham in com- 
mand of the 21st Regiment), and Lieutenant-Colonel 
Wilham P. Moseley, '61, Major John B. Moseley, '60; 
and Major Scott Shipp, the Commandant, still held 
his commission as Major in this regiment which he had 
assisted Colonel Gilham in recruiting and organizing. 
In the 42d Virginia, Jesse S. Burks, '44, was Colonel, 
P. B. Adams, '49, Major; while John A. Campbell, '44, 
was Colonel of the 48th Virginia. 

In the Third Brigade, Colonel William B. Taliaferro, 
formerly President of the Board of Visitors, com- 
manded the 23d Virginia with Clayton G. Coleman, Jr., 
an ex-cadet, as his Lieutenant-Colonel. In the 37th Vir- 
ginia, Robert P. Carson, '54, was Lieutenant-Colonel, 
commanding, and Titus V. Williams, '59, was a Major, 
and later Colonel; while Simeon B. Gibbons, '52, 
commanded the 10th Virginia (later killed). 

In the Horse Artillery Battery, all four of the officers 
were fresh from the Institute, and no outfit in the army 
so appealed to the pride of the Corps as did Chew's 
Battery, by reason of its brilliant exploits, the youth of 
its commissioned personnel, and the fact that it was 
organized and exclusively officered by men with whom 
every old cadet in the Corps had recently served at the 

The Virginia Military Institute 191 

On the 11th day of November, 1861, Robert Preston 
Chew, aged nineteen, Milton Rouss, seventeen, and 
James W. Thomson, eighteen, all of the Class of 1861, 
under special authority of the Secretary of War, 
organized the first Horse Battery in the Confederate 
Army. Soon, James W. McCarty, '60, joined the 
battery as junior second lieutenant. 

The original armament of this battery consisted of a 
6-inch iron rifle, a 12-pounder howitzer, and an imported 
Blakeley rifle. 

"Chew's Battery was Ashby's pet, and imder the 
gallant Chew it was as much Ashby's right arm, as 
Ashby was the right arm of Jackson, Indeed, the 
fame of this battery extended throughout the Army of 
Northern Virginia, and the attestations to its dis- 
tinguished service are too numerous for mention."* 

"In the minds of the people of the Valley, the Ashby 
cavalry and Chew's Battery belonged to one another 
as by natural aflBnity, and they located the position of 
the Federals by the familiar crack of 'Chew's Blakeley' 
which awakened the echoes of the mountains, and spread 
commotion in the encampments of the enemy, ere the 
farmers had aroused to call and feed their hogs."** 

Ofiicered by young, energetic, and highly-trained 
young men who have been tutored by Jackson himself, 
it was natural that this command should attain a dis- 
tinction second to none in the service. After the death 
of Ashby, it served in the famous battahon of Stuart 
Horse Artillery, and was, perhaps, engaged in more 
affairs than any battery in the army. In 1863, Chew 
became a major of Horse Artillery, and March 1, 1865, 
was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 
Stuart Horse Artillery, proving himself a worthy suc- 
cessor of the "gallant" Pelham. Jimmie Thomson be- 
came a Major of Horse Artillery, and was killed at the 
High Bridge in April, three days before the Surrender. 

When the youthful Captain Chew, with his even more 
youthful lieutenants, reported for duty to Jackson, the 

•General Thomas T. Munford. 

**See History of the Laurel Brigade, McDonald, pp. 30-35. 

192 The Military History of 

latter's face wore a quizzical expression, as he inquired: 
"Young men, now that you have your company, what 
are you going to do with it?" There was no reply to 
this question then, but the answer came soon, for but 
a few weeks later, Captain Chew, Milton Rouss, Jim- 
mie Thomson, and Jimmie McCarty, performed a feat 
of arms with their battery, believed to be impossible 
until they executed it, and that was a charge in the front 
rank of Ashby's cavalry upon the enemy at Middletown, 
on which occasion the guns were unlimbered and dis- 
charged at a distance of not over fifty yards from the 
Federals. Chew not only originated this hazardous 
practice, but performed similar feats of daring on many 
other fields thereafter.* How the old drill-master's heart 
must have swelled with pride over the exploits of young 
Chew, and his other former pupils ! 

After reviewing the composition of the Army of the 
Valley, it is easy to understand the proprietary interest 
the Corps felt in it, and the longing the cadets enter- 
tained to join in active service those whom they had 
either known or of whom they had heard so much, at 
the Institute. 

The long-expected order soon followed the prepara- 
tions of the Superintendent, and, on May 1st, the fol- 
lowing communication was received by him : 

"Swift Run Gap, April 30, 1862. 

"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute. 

"General — Please march the cadets at once to Staunton, if you 
feel authorized to co-operate in an important movement which I 
will explain to you when we meet; as many of the cadets' parents 
may have sent their sons to the Institute for the purpose of keeping 
them out of the field, at present, I can provide for all such cases, 
and even for the entire Corps, if necessary, by assigning them to 
the care of the provisions, and the baggage train; and thus let 
volunteers go into battle who would be otherwise kept out. The 
duty I know would not be congenial to the feelings of our brave 
Corps which I am well satisfied would desire to advance; but the 

•See History ot Laurel Brigade, McDonald, p. 32. Also The Long Arm •* 
Lee, Wise. 

A S 


ADJDTANT-GENEEAL OF VIRGINIA 1841-1865, 1866-1875 

The Virginia Military Institute 193 

patriot (and I regard each one of them as such) is willing to take 
any position where he can best serve his country. Should you 
co-operate with me, you will be absent from the Institute for a few 
days, but I trust that an ever-kind Providence will afterwards 
permit the Institute, uninterruptedly, to press forward in its great 

"Please let me hear from you at once. Send your dispatch to 
the care of Major A. W. Harman, Staunton. 
"I am, General, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson, 


The response to this call was the immediate publica- 
tion of the following order: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 1, 1862. 

"General Orders — No. 46. 

"The enemy are hovering upon our borders, and are threatening 
to drive us from our homes. The Army of General T. J. Jackson 
is preparing to meet and repel their invasion of our Valley, and in 
the critical emergency pressing upon him, I have tendered to 
General Jackson the co-operation of the Corps of Cadets. General 
Jackson has accepted their services, and calls upon me to march 
to Staunton this morning. 

"The Corps of Cadets, under command of Major S. Shipp, will 
be in marching condition as soon as practicable, and proceed forth- 
with to Staunton. I want no cadet to accompany the command, 
except those who feel that they go with the consent of their parents, 
either presumed or actual. I have no time to consult all, but have 
to presume upon the patriotic impulse of parents whose wishes 
would be to defend the home now so seriously threatened. Let us 
go into this service which will be but for a few days, with the 
ardor and devotion of the true sons of the South, resolved to main- 
tain the independence of our beloved country. 

"Major Shipp will detail a guard to take charge of the public 
property. Col. William Gilham and Lt. H. A. Wise will remain in 
charge of the Institute, the command devolving upon Col. Gilham. 

"By command of 

"General Smith." 

To understand the necessity of calling out the cadets, 
it is necessary to briefly review the military situation 
in Virginia, in the spring of 1862. 


194 The Military History of 

McClellan had assembled an immense army of 
200,000 men about Washington, and Shields was in 
command of 46,000 Federal troops — a long line from 
Fredericksburg to Romney. About 40,000 Federals had 
assembled under General Banks, along the Potomac. 
Early in March, Banks commenced his advance from 
Harper's Ferry into the Valley, and Jackson with his 
small army, instead of retiring, advanced and offered 
Banks battle on the 7th, and again on the 11th, of 
March. Falling back through Winchester to Stras- 
burg, Jackson again took up a position, in the hope that 
he would be attacked; but the enemy remained in 
Winchester until the 18th, when Banks sent Shields, 
who had reinforced him with 12,000 men, forward to 
Strasburg. Jackson retired slowly up the Valley as far 
as Mount Jackson. Ashby, with his cavalry and Chew's 
Battery, disputed every foot of the way. Meantime, 
Banks was ordered to Manassas, and Shields was left 
at Winchester. 

Upon learning on the 22d that Shields alone was now 
before him, Jackson determined upon an attack. Gen- 
eral Shields had been wounded by a shell from Chew's 
"Blakeley" and was succeeded in command by Kim- 
ball, who formed his line in the vicinity of Kernstown, 
some miles south of Winchester. The Confederates 
were repulsed, with a loss of 718 killed and woimded, 
and, although unsuccessful in this fight, so alarmed Mr. 
Lincoln that McDowell, with 40,000 men, was posted 
at Fredericksburg, and Banks was ordered back to the 
Valley to oppose Jackson. 

About the 1st of April, Banks had succeeded in 
driving Jackson's Cavalry back as far as Edinburg, 
where Ashby clung on for over three weeks. 

By April 15th, Jackson had increased his force to 
a httle over 6,000 men; but Banks, who had been heavily 
reinforced, made an advance on the 17th, and reached 
Harrisonburg on the 22d. 

It was this near approach which had caused General 
Smith to prepare the cadets for field service, and to 
tender the use of the Corps to General Jackson. 

The Virginia Military Institute 195 

From Harrisonburg, Jackson crossed the Shenan- 
doah at Conrad's Store, and went into camp in Elk Run 
Valley. He was not equal to fighting Banks in the open 
country between Harrisonburg and Staunton, but, in 
this position, would be a constant threat to the safety 
of that general. With Banks advancing up the Valley 
towards Staunton, Milroy at McDowell, and Fremont 
moving up the South Branch Valley, it seemed Staunton 
and Lexington were doomed. 

General Ewell was encamped on the Upper Rappa- 
hannock with his division of 8,000 men. General Ed- 
ward, Johnson, with a brigade, had marched back to 
within a few miles of Staunton. McDowell's advance 
had reached Fredericksburg. In order to divert 
McDoweU from his contemplated jimction with the 
right of the Army of the Potomac, which, under 
McClellan, had assailed Johnston at Yorktown, Gen- 
eral Lee now authorized Jackson to employ Ewell's 

On the 29th, Ewell arrived at the Elk Run Valley, 
and Jackson moved up the river to Port Republic, while 
Ashby demonstrated before Banks at Harrisonburg. 
Jackson's intentions were guarded with the utmost 
secrecy from now on, and not even his brigade com- 
manders knew his plans. On May 3d, he turned to the 
left and crossed the Blue Ridge Mountains, directing 
his march to a station on Meechmn's River. Everyone 
was bewildered by his movements. Ewell and all, save 
Ashby, were as much mystified as the enemy who were 
completely in the dark. Mr. Lincoln and General 
Halleck received information of Jackson's simultaneous 
appearance in at least three different places. None of 
them knew the contents of the following letter : 

"Brown's Gap, May 3, 1862. 

"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute. 

"General — Since leaving Swift Run Gap, the heavy roads have 
prevented my reaching Staunton, as I hoped to do by marching 

196 The Military History or 

across the country by Port Republic; but I hope in a few days to 
be with you in Staunton. 

"I trust that neither yourself, nor any member of your com- 
mand, will have occasion to regret this temporary suspension of the 
Institute. It is unnecessary for you to come this side of Staunton. 
Should you have any leisure time, it would be well spent in 
familiarizing yourself with the country, if you are not already 
acquainted with it, in the direction of the enemy, as far as our 
pickets. I send you herewith a pass. I desire all the information 
possible respecting the military features of the country between 
us and the enemy. 

"Yesterday, Colonel Williamson was reconnoitering this pass, but 
will soon be in the Valley. 

"I am much obliged to you for bringing the artillery. It is 
very desirable to arouse the people, and. to induce as many as 
possible to come forward and meet this special emergency, and with 
such arms as they may have. 

"It is very important to keep our movements concealed from the 
enemy, and, to this end, our people should say nothing about our 

"Ashby has a large cavalry force, which is mainly designed at 
present to cover my present march to Staunton. 

' 'With you, I am assured our God will prosper our cause. Please 
remember me very kindly to the officers who are with you. 

"I am. General, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson." 

This letter, written by Jackson when he was heading 
directly away from Staunton, clearly established his in- 
tention to return to that point at which the Corps had 
arrived on the day it was written. 

Leaving Lexington at noon of the 1st, the Corps had 
camped that night at Fairfield, after a march of 12 
miles, and the next night at Mint Springs, 20 miles 
farther on, leaving but a six-mile march the third day. 
No gims were taken, as assumed by General Jackson.* 

General Smith preceded the Corps, and, upon arriv- 
ing in Staunton, immediately reported to General 
Jackson, receiving the letter before quoted, in reply. 

The Corps did not find the famous "Stonewall 
Brigade" and the other troops of Jackson's command 

*Thls statement is made upon the authority of General Shipp, who was in 

The Virginia Military Institute 197 

awaiting it in Staxmton. In Ewell's division, there were 
also many old friends the cadets and officers had hoped 
to see. That division was composed of Taylor's 
Louisiana Brigade; Elzey's Brigade, 13th, 31st, and 
25th Virginia, and 12th Georgia; Scott's Brigade, 44th, 
52d, and 58th Virginia; the 1st Maryland Regiment, 
and the 2d and 6th Virginia Cavalry, with 6 batteries 
of artillery. In the Virginia regiments were many 
former cadets. 

Thomas T. Munford, '52, was Lieutenant-Colonel, 
commanding the 2d Virginia Cavalry, and Cary 
Breckinridge, '60, was a major in that regiment. In the 
13th Virginia Infantry, there were Colonel James B. 
Terrill, '58, Lieutenant-Colonel James A. Walker, '52, 
and Major John B. Sherrard, '45. George A. Porter- 
field, '44, commanded the 25th Virginia, with George H. 
Smith, '58, as one of his majors, later colonel. 
Francis M. Boykin, '56, and Joseph H. Chenoweth, 
'59, were lieutenant-colonel and major in the 31st 
Virginia, respectively. A. C. Jones, '50, was a major 
in the 44th Virginia, and John D. Lilley, '58, and 
John D. H. Ross, '59, were majors in the 52d Virginia, 
while Stapleton Crutchfield, '55, was lieutenant-colonel 
of the 58th Virginia. Besides these field-officers, there 
were many other former cadets in Ewell's division, most 
of the younger ones commanding companies in the 
various regiments, or batteries. But of all these, only 
those of Elzey's, or Edward Johnson's, Brigade, were 
to take part in the operations immediately ensuing. 

Sunday, May 4th, after reaching Meechum's River, 
Jackson entrained his infantry for Staunton, leaving 
his artillery and wagon train to follow by road. Banks, 
like McDowell, meantime had received what he believed 
to be the most reliable intelligence of Jackson's progress 
past Gordonsville to join Lee. 

When Jackson's troops returned to Staunton on the 
4th and 5th, it was rimiored that Ashby was being 
rapidly forced back upon the town by Banks,' and that 
Edward Johnson was also being driven in from the 

198 The Military History of 

west by Milroy. Yet, he rested his troops on the 6th, 
and prepared for the sudden movements he was about 
to undertake. This delay was not at all pleasing to 
General Smith, who, having flattered himself upon the 
confidence Jackson had placed in him, now perceived 
that he knew no more of his ultimate aims than any one 
else. It was in a peevish state of mind, therefore, after 
three days of idle waiting in and about Staunton, ex- 
amining the terrain thereabout, perhaps, as suggested 
in Jackson's dispatch, little improved by the Board's 
disapproval of his action in tumiag out the Corps, that 
he addressed the following letter to the Commanding 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Staunton, May 6, 1862. 

"Major-General T. J. Jackson, 

"Commanding Valley District. 

"General — In tendering to you the co-operation of the Corps 
of Cadets, for the defense of this portion of the Valley, to the 
extent of my authority and means, I was prompted by a sense of 
duty devolving upon me as Commandant of the Public Guard at 
Lexington, and by a desire to make an effort to protect the Virginia 
Military Institute from destruction. 

"On reaching Staunton with the Corps of Cadets, I reported 
my arrival to the Adjutant-General of Virginia, and regret to find 
that the presumed authority which I had supposed that I had 
received from that officer had been misunderstood, and that the 
Board was unanimous in their disapprobation of the cadets being 
in any way subjected to the risk of battle, unless in the immediate 
defense of Lexington, and also objected to the co-operation on the 
part of the Corps with military movements in the field. The view 
taken by the Board is based upon the idea 'that it would be a breach 
of good faith on the part of the Institute towards parents and 
guardians.' Subsequently, the Governor has said 'that as the mis- 
chief had been done, we had as well go on.' 

"Finding myself thus unexpectedly and painfully embarrassed,, 
by the action of the Board, and the opinion of the Governor, I 
would esteem it a favor if you would inform me in what way, and 
to what extent, I may take the responsibility of acting in opposition 
to the express wishes and orders of my immediate superiors. 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Francis H. Smith." 

The Virginia Military Institute 199 

General Jackson knew conditions at the Institute 
too well not to give the Superintendent the assurance 
he needed for the action which the Governor had 
characterized as "mischief", and which the Board had 
unanimously condemned. He, therefore, promptly ad- 
dressed the following letter : 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"Staunton, May 6, 1862. 
"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute. 

"General — Your letter of this date, stating the embarrassment 
in which you are placed in co-operating with me, in defense of this 
portion of the Valley, and requesting to be informed in what way, 
and to what extent, I propose to use the Corps of Cadets, has been 
received. In reply, I would state, that should you, notwithstanding 
the action of the Board of Visitors, and of the Governor, feel at 
liberty to continue your co-operation, the Corps of Cadets will form 
a part of the reserve, and that its duties will perhaps be of an 
unusually active character, and may continue for five or seven days. 
The safety of this section of the Valley, in my opinion, renders your 
continued co-operation of great importance; but, should you deem 
it your duty, in consequence of the action of the Board of Visitors 
and of the Governor of the State, to return at once to the Institute, 
I hope you will accept for yourself, and tender to your command, 
the grateful appreciation of your patriotic devotion to our cause, 
which has been manifested by having so promptly responded to 
my call. 

"I am. General, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"T. J. Jackson, 


This pohtic reply in which the Superintendent was 
flatteringly reassured, and at the same time relieved not 
one whit of the responsibihty of his future course, either 
in remaining or returning with the Corps, had the effect 
the shrewd writer intended for it, and elicited the 
following response: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 6, 1862. 
"Major-General T. J. Jackson, 

"Commanding Valley District. 

"General — I have received your communication of this date. 
The unqualified expression of your opinion that the continued co- 

200 The Military History of 

operation of the Corps of Cadets is of great importance to the safety 
of this section of the Valley, removes all doubt from my mind as to 
my duty to give you that co-operation with the limitation of exclud- 
ing all cadets under eighteen years of age, who have not the consent 
of their parents to participate in this temporary service. 

"Knowing, as I well do, the wishes of the governing authorities 
of the Institute, and of parents, that no interruption shall take place 
in our regular course, if it can be avoided, I regard this call as 
presenting a means, under Providence, by which you may be 
enabled, with your gallant Army, to ensure to the cadets, at the end 
of the contemplated service, a safe return to their accustomed 
duties, with the satisfaction that they have endeavored to render a 
patriotic service. 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Francis H. Smith." 

On the morning of the 7th, although the inhabitants, 
credulous of every wild rumor, fully expected to see 
the Federals approaching, Jackson who was well in- 
formed by Ashby of Banks' idleness, moved his army 
westward to strike Milroy commanding Fremont's ad- 
vance guard. His strategy was to crush the weaker 
force first, and then fall upon Banks, thus preventing 
their combination. 

The army was set in motion in the following order: 
Edward Johnson's regiments led the way, several miles 
in advance; the 3d and 2d Brigades followed, the 
Stonewall Brigade under General Winder, and the 
Corps of Cadets under Major Shipp, bringing up the 
rear, as a reserve. 

"The Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Insti- 
tute," says Dabney, "was also attached to the expedi- 
tion; and the spruce equipments and the exact drill of 
the youths, as they stepped out, full of enthusiasm to 
take their first actual look upon the horrid visage of war, 
imder their renowned professor, formed a strong con- 
trast with the war-worn and nonchalant veterans who 
composed the army."* 

Eighteen miles west of Staunton, a Federal picket 
was overrvm, and in the pass leading to the Shenandoah 

*Llle and Campaigns of Lleutenant-General Stonewall Jackson, Dabnev, 
Vol. II, p. 65. 

The Virginia Military Institute 201 

Mountain, Johnson captured a camp that had just been 
abandoned. The Federal rear-guard fired a few shells, 
and the Confederates went into bivouac. Johnson had 
marched fourteen, and Jackson twenty, miles. 

For full and accurate details of the battle of 
McDowell, the reader should consult some of the more 
reliable accoimts of Jackson's Valley Campaign.* 
Briefly stated, events were as follows: 

On the morning of the 8th, Johnson encoimtered 
Milroy, reinforced by Schenck, on the top of Bull Pas- 
ture Moimtain, about three miles east of the village of 
McDowell. A severe conflict now ensued, which lasted 
four hours, and which was fought mainly by the 
infantry, because the difficult terrain would not permit 
the use of artillery. The action gradually became so 
fierce that Jackson sent the 3d Brigade to support his 
advance guard, and was on the point of throwing into 
action the 2d Brigade, when the enemy fled as darkness 
set in. The Stonewall Brigade and the cadets, com- 
prising the reserve, after having gone into camp three 
miles in rear, about dusk, were ordered to move forward 
rapidly to McDowell, where they arrived just as the 
firing was dying out, well after dark, only to be ordered 
back to camp again, as pursuit was impracticable by 

The enemy had been repulsed at every point, but not 
without severe loss, which included 444 enlisted men and 
54 officers. The Federal loss, due to advantages of 
position, did not exceed 256 killed, woimded and miss- 
ing. Among the woimded Confederate officers was the 
gallant Colonel George H. Smith, V. M. I., '53, com- 
manding the 25th Virginia, while Colonel S. B. Gibbons, 
V. M. I., '52, commanding the 10th Virginia, was 

After a day of exceptional hardship and excitement, 
and an imusually long and toilsome march, it was a 

•stonewall Jackson and the American Civil War, Henderson. Life and 
Campaigns of Lleutenant-General Stonewall Jackson, Dabney. Stonewall 
Jackson in the Shenandoah, Imboden, in Battles and Leaders of the Civil 
War. Vol. II, pp. 282-301. Military Biography of Stonewall Jackson, Cooke. 

202 The Military History of 

disgruntled body of cadets that returned to camp that 
night. For weeks, they had builded upon their hopes. 
The long period of expectancy and drilling had been 
followed by the order calling out the Corps. Then the 
Corps had marched to Staunton, picturing an enemy on 
every hill, only to be held in restraint in Stavmton, with- 
out the shghtest knowledge of the future course. Then, 
had come the day when, relegated to the reserve, yet 
happy, the Corps had set out for McDowell, only to be 
held in the rear in the very sound of the firing, and, 
later, rushed back and forth over the roads, without the 
slightest opportunity to participate in the action. It 
was all certainly very disappointing to the exuberant 
youths who chafed at the leash with boyish impatience. 

The next morning, Ashby's cavalry crossed the bridge 
at McDowell, and moved cautiously forward through 
the mountain passes which had blocked pursuit. The 
infantry halted for some hours in McDowell, in order 
that rations might be issued. Here, the dehghtful task 
of burying the Federal dead, some 26 in number, was 
assigned Major Shipp and the cadets, a duty no doubt 
designed to harden the nerves of the yoimg soldiers. 

Meantime, the Federals had covered 23 miles or more 
in their flight, so that even forced marches on the 10th 
and 11th failed to overtake them. The difficulties of the 
pursuit were heightened by the novel scheme of setting 
the mountain forests on fire, which enshrouded the vales 
with an impenetrable cloud of smoke. Late on the 11th, 
however, Jackson gained close contact with the retreat- 
ing Federals, and drove them back as far as the village 
of Frankhn, where they assumed a defiant attitude, in 
a position of great natural strength. In the meantime, 
the cadets who had discharged their inglorious task, ar- 
rived and were deployed by Major Shipp, while the 
random firing from both sides continued. The Corps 
was not, however, actively engaged. 

Having driven Milroy and Schenck far enough to 
prevent Fremont's juncture with Banks, Jackson com- 
menced his march back to the Valley on the 12th, arriv- 

The Vieginia Military Institute 203 

ing at Lebanon Springs on the road to Harrisonburg 
on the 15th, while the Corps returned to Staunton by 
the direct road. Banks, meanwhile, had fallen back 
to Strasburg, so there was no occasion for the Corps to 
remain away from Lexington longer. 

Remaining in Staunton dui'ing the 15th, the Corps 
marched to Lexington on the 16th, 17th and 18th, and 
orders were issued, the following day, for the resumption 
of academic duties on the 20th. 

Soon, the following order was received at the Insti- 
tute, which attested the valuable service rendered the 
cause by the Corps of Cadets: 

"Headquarters, Valley District, at McDowell, 

"May 15, 1862. 

"General Orders — No. 46. 

"The imminent danger to which Staunton was recently exposed 
having been removed by the defeat of the combined forces of 
Generals Schenck and Milroy on the west, and the falling back 
of General Banks on the north, Major-General F. H. Smith returns 
with his command to the post and duties which have been assigned 
him by the State of Virginia. In thus parting with this patriotic 
officer, and those who had for a time left their scientific and literary 
pursuits for the purpose of co-operating in repelling the danger 
which threatened the Virginia Military Institute (which has by its 
graduates contributed so efficiently to the success of this war), the 
Major-General commanding tenders his thanks to Major-General 
Smith, and the officers and cadets under him, for the promptitude 
and efficiency with which they have assisted in the recent expedition. 

"By command of Major-General T. J. Jackson, 

"T. L. Dabney, 

"A. A. G." 

The following account of the experiences of the Corps 
of Cadets in the McDowell Campaign, by Captain 
B. A. Colonna, Class of 1864, First Sergeant of 
Company "D" in 1862, is so graphic and so live with 
interest, that it is here inserted in full : 

"Our first day's march became disagreeable on account of a cold 
rain that set in at about 2 or 3 o'clock. The Corps, though not 
prepared for hardship, was not provided with transportation as we 
had been in April, 1861. There were no stage coaches and only 

204 The Military History of 

two or three wagons and one ambulance. The cadets carried their 
own blankets, etc., each had a tin cup and plate, haversack and 
canteen, and were not equipped as fancy soldiers at all. Our arms 
were the little drill guns, quite unsuited for war, smooth-bores — 
just what he had before the war for drill guns. Each cadet carried 
in his haversack enough food to last him to Staunton, viz., two days' 
rations, consisting of hardtack, sandwiches and bacon — and coffee; 
for we had coffee then that was made for us by old Judge, in large 
tin camp kettles, and the 'short sweetening' was boiled in. The 
cadets were allowed to nibble at this food whenever we stopped, 
and some nibbled even on the march; but we had no coffee until 
we reached camp that night, a long distance beyond Fairfield, where 
we were fed in 1861. I think this place was called Mint Spring. 

"The night was miserable enough, for it rained at intervals, and 
though there were a few tents we slept on the ground, and only a 
few of the cadets knew how to care for themselves. 'Spex' was 
not along. Col. Shipp was mounted on a dapply iron-gray, a 
stallion, I believe, and a lazy brute that I often wished I could 
have on a side road to put some ginger in him. Dr. Madison rode 
a clumsy sorrel that I suspected to be from some livery stable, and 
this doctor was as kind as he could be in dismounting most of the 
time and allowing some tired cadet to ride his horse. There were 
a lot of assistant professors along who generally marched at the 
rear of the column. Dr. Madison was a particularly entertaining 
man, whose knowledge of Botany made a day's marching at his side 
as instructive as a week's study at school. 

"Sunday, May 4th, we were about as soon as it was light, and 
coffee was ready by the time our tents were struck. The morning 
air was damper than our clothes. The day was only partly cloudy, 
and the excellent spirits of the boys soon caused sore feet and 
blisters to be forgotten as we pulled along through the mud toward 
Staunton, arriving there while it was yet daylight. I can not recall 
the place where we stopped, but I think it was in some vacant store 
or warehouse. The good people of Staunton treated us royally, and 
we had an excellent night's rest. 

"Monday, May 5th. Rations were issued and coffee served as 
usual. We cleaned up pur clothes and made ourselves as present- 
able as we could, and in the afternoon had Dress Parade on the 
lawn in front of the Deaf and Dumb asylum. The blind children 
sang for us in the evening; one very pathetic song made the tears 
come in my eyes. I remember some of the words : 

" 'No one to love, none to caress. 

Wandering alone through this world's wilderness,' etc. 

We spent the night pleasantly. 

The Virginia Military Institute 205 

"Tuesday, May 6th. It was rumored that Gen. Jackson was in 
town, and we had hardly finished our hardtack and bacon when the 
word was passed that we were to pass in review before him. There 
was much effort to prepare for the event, and at dinner roll call 
it was officially announced that we would respond to drum call at 
1 p. M. The review was over by 2 p. m., being held on the spacious 
grounds before the Deaf and Dumb asylum. It was the last time 
I ever appeared before my old professor. (I recited in declamation 
before him in 1860-61.) 

"It was rumored that we were to be attached to the Stonewall 
Brigade, and that evening- at D. P. an order was read, to that 
effect, but that brigade was not just then in evidence. 

"Wednesday, May 7th. After a quiet, restful day the Stonewall 
Brigade came in. I did not see it at all, but during the afternoon 
rations were issued for a day, and no permits to leave quarters were 
issued. There was an early tattoo, and the word was passed around 
that we were to be ready for an early start in the morning. 

"Thursday, May 18th, was a balmy, pleasant May day and we 
responded to reveille at about 1 a. m., and at 2 a. m. we joined the 
Stonewall Brigade on the street or road in the west part of 
Staunton. There was no tiresome delay, but the brigade moved 
westward on the road leading to Buffalo Gap, twelve miles distant. 
This was the same route over which I had passed with the 21st 
Virginia Regiment in June, 1861, on its way to western Virginia, 
and our first day's march was to Buffalo Gap, and I expected to 
halt there to-day. The old 21st was along to-day, but its impedi- 
menta had disappeared. Each company did not have four large 
six-horse wagons furnished by the government and one extra hired 
by the company to carry trunks, etc., and each soldier did not 
start out with over 100 pounds on his back, to be gradually thrown 
away as the sun climbed higher until the road from Staunton to 
Buffalo Gap was lined by all kinds of articles, as in '61. The 21st 
only had one wagon and two ambulances with a shoulder kit of 
less than forty pounds in all wrapped in a blanket roll, through 
which the soldier's head stuck out, leaving it resting on his right 
shoulder and left hip. But each soldier did carry forty rounds of 
ammunition in his cartridge box, which he knew how to take care 
of and use properly. I doubt whether the whole of Jackson's 
army had as much impedimenta as the 21st had on leaving Staunton 
in 1861. 

"Dr. Madison used to discuss the Corps with me from the 
surgeon's point of view, and he always acknowledged the inferiority 
of this rat corps physically to the corps that went to Richmond in 
1861 — the present personnel being so much younger and smaller — 
but he was forced to acknowledge its esprit to be wonderful. So 
the morning passed until a little after sunrise, when he halted at 

206 The Military History of 

Buffalo Gap near the splendid spring that bursts out about fifty 
feet below the railroad track. We had covered just what the 21st 
had covered in the same time thirteen months before, and, of course, 
I expected to go into camp ; but in an hour we were under way 
again, following the same road we had traveled in 1861. We were 
taking a short rest now every hour, say twenty minutes, and then 
resuming our march. In about five hours we came to the very 
place where we camped in 1861 at the end of our second day out. 
The log blacksmith's shop that stood on the south side of the road 
just off a point of woods that was on the north side was there as 
natural as life. 'Now,' I thought, 'we are about twenty-four miles 
from Staunton this 8th day of May, 1862, and we will surely go 
into camp.' It was growing monotonous, and, though I did not 
like to own it, I was getting a little .tired of carrying that musket 
and other toggery. But, no; we were called to attention and soon 
found ourselves climbing Shenandoah Mountain. The boys were 
beginning to feel the strain, but none of them so far had fallen 
by the wayside, though we saw several veterans of the Stonewall 
Brigade resting by the roadside and looking unhappy. Though I 
thought it took ages, we finally reached the top of Shenandoah 
Mountain and to the westward could see the valley of Cow Pasture 
River. We were now over thirty miles from Staunton, but on we 
went. It was down grade, and that brought another set of muscles 
into play, so that we reached Cow Pasture River in better shape. 
We crossed the river and ascended a hill, where in a pretty little 
valley near a small rivulet we filed to the left and went onto 
camp along with the brigade. Judge and the other cook, who had 
been riding in the commissary wagon turn about, had coffee directly, 
and I had two tin cupfuls of it, with some hardtack stowed away 
quickly. Then we all rolled up in our blankets and went off dozing 
and dreaming of 'the girls we left behind us.' It was probably 
an hour later when the beating of drums all around us called me to 
my feet. In an instant my clothes were adjusted and I was 
accoutered to march, for it was the long roll that was sounding. 
At the last tap of the drum the companies were fallen in and faced 
to the front. So far as I can remember the cadets were all present, 
but it was a peaked-looking crowd that faced to the right and took 
up the march along with the Stonewall Brigade, still to westward. 
Some of the boys were limping, but, though sore, we were much 
refreshed by that short rest. The blankets, etc., we were ordered 
to leave on the ground with the camp guard. The sun was getting 
low in the west, and I suppose it was about 5 p. m., when we took 
up the march toward McDowell. We were soon on top of the flat- 
topped hill that formed the divide between Cow Pasture and Bull 
Pasture rivers, and could hear continually and distinctly the fire 
of the infantry and occasionally of a cannon. It seemed to put 
new life into the boys as we pressed forward, and on reaching the 

The Virginia Military Institute 207 

west slope of the hill we heard a band playing; a little later we 
passed it on the north side of the road. It was seldom that we 
heard a band playing like this on the eve of battle, but some one, 
knowing how fatigued we were, had ordered this to cheer us on 
to the fight. It was certainly doing its work well. As we 
progressed the firing gradually ceased; we were halted and a rest 
ordered, and finally marched back to our camp. I was certainly 
tired when at about midnight we filed to the right, marched to our 
bivouac, were given 'stack arms,' and dismissed. I was about 
five or six yards from my blankets when I fell to my knees and 
crawled to my blankets, wrapped them about me and fell asleep. 
So ended a forty-four-mile march of twenty-two hours. 

"Friday, May 9th. I did not stir until 10 a. m., when I awoke 
at the tap of the drum. A summer sun was shining in my face 
and every bone in my body seemed to be aching. I was stijff and 
sore, and it required some will power to put the engine in motion, 
but by the time we had limped to reveille and washed our faces we 
were ready for our fried bacon, hardtack, and coffee. We were 
not allowed to stand about long before we were marching for the 
fifth time on that hill slope for McDowell. I don't think it was 
over four miles off, and as I remember we were there by 2 p. m., 
and were halted in the road opposite a nice brick house (Dr. 
ZoUerman's?) with a blacksmith's shop across the way. I was 
looking for a place to sit in a lean-to at the west end of the smithy 
when I heard a slight noise and was at the road again just as a 
Federal field officer, followed by a colored man leading two horses, 
came out of the shop door. He looked more astonished than we 
did, but he soon came to himself, for the cadets swarmed about him, 
and he was being picked at as if he were a 'rat,' when Col. Shipp 
came jogging up on that old pot-bellied horse of his and took 
charge. He made us restore everything, and he and the colonel (?) 
rode away, the negro following, mounted on the other horse. 

"It was decided directly that we would stop here overnight, and 
we stacked arms and were turned loose. I can not remember any 
house at McDowell save the brick one and the smithy. About a 
year previous I had been with the 21st when it camped 
here, back of the smithy, and I can not remember any houses 
at that time. On going to the brick house we found that 
the parlor had been used as a hospital; there was a dead man 
laid on top of the piano, and in the dining-room on the table there 
was a litter with a man on it. This man had a triangular hole 
knocked in the top of his head, and his brains had run out on the 
floor, leaving the iFront half of his skull entirely empty; yet he 
breathed, and when we gave him water from a sponge, that we 
found in his mouth, he sucked it vigorously, and opened his eyes. 
He was paralyzed for locomotion, and I think for sensation, too. 

208 The Military History or 

Dr. Madison came along and looked him over, and directed us to 
give no more water, for it was a hopeless case, and we were only 
prolonging misery. He died in about half an hour. His name was 
Hayden D. Runyon, of Eaton, Ohio, as we learned from the 
contents of his kit, which was on the floor under the table. I was 
ordered to make a detail from D Company and bury the two of 
them, which I did. They found a resting place under a big sugar 
maple along the bank of Cow Pasture River, and were covered by 
one blanket. I believe it was Glazebrook who read the Episcopal 
service over them. That night cadets slept everywhere in the brick 
house. And so ended the 9th of May, 1862. 

"May 10, 1862. The whole army resumed march, pressing the 
enemy, who made a weak stand, causing a little delay. I can not 
recall where we bivouacked. 

"Sunday, May 11, 1862. In hot pursuit of the enemy, who had 
set the woods on fire. As the wind blew our way, we were 
enveloped in it to such an extent as to obscure everything, and, 
getting in our eyes, it was very annoying. I can not remember 
where we camped, except that it was in a pretty valley with one or 
two houses. 

"Monday, May 12, 1862. We rested to make up for Sunday. 
There was a large and very beautiful maple tree in a meadow at 
this camp, which was on the south fork of the Potomac, and under 
that tree I found Gen. Jackson, his staff, and a large number of 
soldiers holding public worship. Gen. Jackson remained standing 
and uncovered, and I had a fine opportunity of seeing him. It was 
my last chance until he was brought back to Lexington to be buried. 
I will own up to being more interested in that beloved "Round 
Head" than in all the parson's discourse. It was only a little after 
noon when the drums beat, and we soon gathered our effects and 
made the march back to McDowell. No one in that whole host 
knew what was in the mind of our general. I have no recollection 
of where we camped. 

"Tuesday, May 13, 1862. We were on the march back to Mc- 
Dowell. I could not conceive how men could so quickly pass from 
what they were on the 8th to that quiet, steady-going army bent 
as one man on the hardest kind of work. 

"Wednesday, May 14, 1862. We reached McDowell in the 
evening and camped. The other commands were to the eastward 
of us, and, I suppose, on Cow Pasture River. The cavalry had 
not yet come up. It was announced to us that our course was back 
to Staunton over the same route by which we had advanced. We 
camped on the bank of Bull Pasture River and had bread (corn 
pones), bacon, and no coffee. I could have wept for growley. 

The Virginia Military Institute 209 

"Thursday, May 15th. The cadets were now all up and the 
ranks were well filled. The boys were full of enthusiasm, but not 
so full of anything else. Our clothing was getting worn and our 
shoes were playing out. Some of the cadets were using strips of 
cloth or strings to bind them to their feet. The soreness of 
muscles due to hard marching had worn off, and the cadets were 
in better shape for work than when they had marched out of 
Barracks. Some spoke openly of their disappointment at not being 
allowed to follow Jackson, for the Stonewall Brigade had petted 
us and bragged on our endurance, but they all reminded us that 
we were too young to leave our mothers, and ought to go home 
before the latter knew we were out, etc., etc. ; and that was rather 
offensive to our dignity and our vanity, though always spoken in 
great kindness. From the battlefield to the bivouac of the 8th in- 
stant we passed over the same ground for the sixth time. There was 
one place that I remember very well where on the 8th we had met 
Gen. Johnson, wounded, and whenever we looked at Shenandoah 
Mountain as we approached it we were reminded that work lay 
before us right there. Occasionally we could distinguish Jackson's 
army as it climbed the mountain, but by ten o'clock the last of them 
seemed to have passed, and we were at the foot of the mountain. 
There was occasionally a straggler on the roadside, for Jackson's 
provost guard did not get every one of them; and occasionally I 
would see one who looked quite able to be in his place with his com- 
pany. We camped that night about twenty miles, I think, from 
Staunton. Many of the cadets were in sorry plight for shoes, and 
for want of knowing how to tie a square knot they could not use 
such as they had to the best advantage. I tried to show some in 
D Company, but they took no interest. 

"Friday, May 16, 1862. We broke camp early and struck out 
for Staunton. We had not gone far before the shoe matter became 
a serious one. Cadet after cadet began to ask to be allowed to leave 
the ranks, and, after holding them for a while longer, they were 
excused, with directions to reach Staunton as soon as practicable. 
Nothing of interest happened beyond this. We arrived in Staunton 
about 3 p. M., with say half our number present. Col. Shipp had 
preceded us and provided quarters in the second story of a large 
brick store that was vacant, and in front of it we were halted, faced 
to the front and ordered arms. It was simply perfect; every gun 
came down at once on the brick pavement. I have never forgotten 
that 'Order arms,' and I have had several other cadets speak to 
me about it. We were not detained long before we were dismissed 
to go to our quarters. Judge and his staff were on hand and the 
kettles of coffee awaited us. I tanked up on coffee, hardtack, and 
cold, boiled bacon that tasted so good that I forgot soldier's life at 
once. There were no roll calls until the following morning, and a 


210 The Military History of 

tired lot of cadets slept as sweetly on that hard floor as a king can 
sleep on a bed of down. During the night cadets continued to 
come in, but there were a few who did not come in until the next day. 

"Saturday, May 17th. Reveille was held this morning a little 
after sunrise. The Corps formed and rolls were called on the 
second floor where we had slept. But little military duty was asked 
of us, and the most important thing was the issuing to us of 
soldier's shoes, good, broad heavy ones. I think that every man 
received a pair, and socks were issued when needed. We slept 
that night on the same floor, but it had turned hard during the day, 
and was not at all luxurious. Our clothing was now dry and the 
mud rubbed off as well as we could do so, and we went to sleep 

"Sunday, May 18th. We began to have regular roll calls, and I 
do not remember that there were any absent. At B. R. C. it was 
announced that the Corps would attend church as usual: 

A Company went to the Episcopal Church. 
B Company went to the Presbyterian Church. 
C Company went to the Baptist Church. 
D Company went to the Methodist Church. 

We did not look very natty, but the people received us with every 
sign of approval and esteem. Many of the cadets had friends at 
Staunton and dined out. Those of us who had not friends had 
dried-apple duff instead of raisin ditto, and some butter materi- 
alized. At night we slept again on the floor. 

"Monday, May 19th. We left Staunton early in the morning, 
homeward bound. We went about halfway and camped for the 

"Tuesday, May 20th. We resumed the march to Barracks. It 
was evident as we progressed that there was a large number of 
cadets who were loath to return, but I was not prepared for such 
a spirit as developed later. We reached Barracks before sundown, 
had supper in the mess hall, and slept in our own beds in Barracks. 

"Wednesday, May 21st. We went through the form of academic 
work, I suppose as a matter of course. But nothing could have 
been better to divert the cadets' attention from war; though, like 
the McDowell campaign intended, as I suppose, to surfeit them 
with war, it did not work. 

"Thus was the McDowell campaign brought to a close." 

The Virginia Military Institute 211 



The interruption incident to the participation of the 
Corps in the McDowell Campaign was a serious one, 
but the added repute of the Institute, accruing from 
this patriotic service, more than counterbalanced the 
loss in other respects. Every officer and cadet now 
understood that not only was the Institute relied upon 
by the Confederate Government to furnish the army 
with trained officers, but that as a military vmit the 
Corps was regarded as capable of rendering valuable 
service in the field; and this knowledge added at least 
an inch to the stature of every cadet. In the pubhc 
mind the Corps was hkened more a,nd more to the 
yovmg Guard of France, and, though dangers sur- 
rounded it, people gladly entrusted their sons to the 
Institute where in time of imiversal danger the maxi- 
mum protection was afforded, and every reasonable 
safeguard thrown about the youth of the South. They 
knew that the cadets would be subjected to no unneces- 
sary dangers, and that, since eventually all must bear 
arms, it were better that the scions of the leading 
families should be prepared to enter the service with 
the prestige of a diploma from the most favored insti- 
tution of the South, With proper military training, 
their service, though postponed, would be of far more 
value than it would be as immature conscripts. The 
Institute, then, was not merely regarded as a haven for 
the yovmg, but as a certain means of insuring the future 
career of those subjected to the prescribed course of 
miUtary training there. 

In order to make up lost time, and better prepare 
cadets for their future work, it was decided by the 

212 The Military History of 

Board of Visitors that the usual summer encampment 
would be dispensed with, and examinations for the 
advancement of the classes held during the last two 
weeks of June. But, in spite of every precaution and 
the most rigid discipline, resignations and dismissals oc- 
curred which, before the middle of July, reduced the 
Corps to a total of but 138 cadets. Over 40 cadets 
were dropped from the rolls for absenting themselves 
without leave to join the armies in the field. 

After the examinations proficient cadets were granted 
brief furloughs to visit their homes, while for all others, 
academic work was resumed, July 15th, and continued 
throughout the summer. 

Jxme 25th, Lieutenant Thomas M. Semmes was pro- 
moted Captain and Instructor of French, being relieved 
as Post-Adjutant by T. Henderson Smith, '61. 

The new session was ordered to commence September 
1st, and late in August, as usual, new cadets began to 
report for duty. Upon the reorganization of the Corps, 
over 200 cadets were present, the First Class numbering 
12, the Second Class 16, and the Third 38, so that again 
the difficult task of maintaining a high state of military 
efficiency, with a comparatively green body of cadets, 
presented itself. And, again, there were constant losses 
and irregular accessions, to increase the difficulties of 
the work. 

But the Superintendent and Commandant, as well as 
every other member of the faculty, essayed their tasks 
with the utmost seriousness of purpose, fully ap- 
preciating the importance of the work assigned them, 
and were favored by a long period of uninterrupted 
effort, for the fall of 1862, and the following winter were 
uneventful ones, as far as the Institute, in the con- 
secutiveness of its work, was concerned. 

The minds of all were of course deeply impressed by 
the momentous events transpiring in the outer world, — 
events brought home to Lexington by the frequent days 
of Thanksgiving promulgated by the President. Then 
there were the sacred rites which the Corps often per- 

The Virginia Military Institute 213 

formed in honoring the memory of its gallant Sieves 
who fell in battle, burying with military honors the 
fallen heroes whose remains were brought back to Lex- 
ington to be interred, and the mournful celebration of 
the glorious victory of Second Manassas where many 
former cadets fell, but where Jackson, and scores of 
graduates, had distinguished themselves. All these and 
similar incidents did not fail to heighten the spirit of 
consecration to duty which pervaded the Institute, and 
even the most careless and unthoughtful cadet was not 
free from the influences which they exerted. Verily, 
the Institute was hallowed by the sacrifices and the 
libations of blood which those who but recently tenanted 
its halls were offering up to their country. The spirit 
animating every officer and cadet is discernible in the 
following order: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"November 10, 1862. 
"General Orders — No. 92. 

"1. The twenty-third (23) anniversary of the Virginia Military 
Institute occurs to-morrow, November 11th, and, in honor of the 
day, there will be the usual suspension of Military and Academic 

"2. Each successive year has borne testimony to the increasing 
usefulness of the Institute. But the united voices of all previous 
years is faint in comparison with the voice of the single year, now 
just passed. This year has seen on every battlefield the graduates 
of the Institute fighting for the independence of our land, as 
privates in the raiJss, or leading to the charge companies, regi- 
ments, and brigades. And on almost every field the record of their 
devoted valor is written in crimson lines; and it is not inappro- 
priate on this anniversary to remember with allowable complacency 
that one who is at this moment a Professor of the Institute is one 
of the most distinguished leaders of the forces of the Southern 

"In after years, the name of General Jackson will be associated 
with the Anniversary of Southern Independence. 

"3. The customary artillery salute must be omitted — we have 
not more powder than we may be called upon at any day to use 
from shotted guns against the invader of our soil. 

"By command of Colonel Preston, 

"A. GovAN Hill, 

"Actg. Adjt., V. M. I." 

214 The Military History of 

Twenty- three years of service! It seems almost im- 
possible that the School had been in existence so brief 
a period of years at this time, when its services were 
heralded North and South, as a primary factor in the 
defense of the Southland. How hard it is to realize that 
this great institution, which by its achievements had 
gained a rating as a School of Arms, second only to 
that of West Point, was after all but an infant, — an 
Ahna Mater the hair of whose oldest son was not yet 
tinged with gray ! It is almost beyond belief that those 
sons had not only bled upon the fields of Mexico, but 
were in 1862 claiming of right a hon's share in every 
victory of the Southern arms. Yet, when the facts are 
known, — facts utterly ignored by the historians of 
the past, — it is clearly seen that the fame of Jackson had 
been laid upon a foundation of youthful devotion which 
had its origin in Lexington, and not on the Hudson. 
Ewell and Garnett and Winder were West Pointers, 
it is true; but what of the innumerable colonels, and 
majors, and captains, and scores of subalterns, and 
dashing staff officers, who rode at the head of the regi- 
ments, companies and batteries, of the Army of the 

If ever an army owed its prowess to a single source, 
it was the army which followed Stonewall Jackson in 
1862. If ever a leader rested his fame upon a single 
influence, it was Jackson whose striking sobriquet was 
won and maintained for him by the blood and valour of 
his former pupils in the art of war. 

But if the Institute had raised aloft the standard of 
"Stonewall" Jackson in 1861, and borne his victorious 
eagles through the Valley of Virginia in 1862, it was 
in the spring of 1863, that, at last, the immortal leader 
himself proclaimed to the world in undying words the 
tribute it had won. 

Never more, let the Institute be charged with rattUng 
the bones of Jackson — the West Pointer. He belongs 
to the Institute, and is a part of it. 

The Virginia Military Institute 215 

In the west sally-port of the Barracks of the Virginia 
Military Institute hangs a bronze tablet dedicated to a 
great soldier by the men of Maryland who served in his 
command. Formerly, it hung in the old section-room 
on the second stoop, in the southwest tower of Barracks, 
where for many years he taught his classes. 

On the cornice of the chancel in the Chapel dedicated 
to his memory, are these words which have been pre- 
served from his lips — "You can be whatever you re- 
solve to be." 

Before that same sally-port, stands his heroic repre- 
sentation in bronze, among the very guns which sur- 
rounded him in battle and, over a half-century ago, 
bellowed forth the name of "Stonewall" Jackson to the 

Beneath that stern monument, and before the muzzles 
of those ancient pieces, spreads out the martial field oft 
trodden by his feet ; behind them rise stately walls which 
inclose a space hallowed by his erstwhile presence; and 
all about are things which remind us that, interwoven 
with the history of the Virginia Military Institute, is 
that of this world-famous soldier. 

Influences, like static forces, when brought togethej* 
are retroactive; and, so, we may inquire what was the 
influence exerted upon Jackson by this School, and 
what was the influence exerted upon this School by 
Jackson. The latter alone has received the attention 
of the world. The fame of Jackson has all but eclipsed 
the part played by others in the making of this story, 
and their contribution to his fame has been quite ob- 
scured by the glamour of his name. It is necessary to 
start at the beginning, if we are to make a correct 
analysis of the influences which we have likened unto 
retroactive forces. 

Let us not disparage Jackson's service to the School, 
but let us preserve the facts. From 1851 to 1860, Major 
Thomas Jonathan Jackson was Professor of Natural 
and Experimental Philosophy. His sole connection 
with the tactical organization of the School was as In- 

216 The Military History of 

structor of Artillery. He was neither Commandant nor 
disciplinarian of the Corps, and when the guns of 
Sumter rang out over the breathless South, the 1,100 
graduates and eleves of the Virginia Military Institute 
who were then living seized their arms and the Drill 
Manual of William GiUiam. 

It was in the stirring spring of 1861 that Jackson 
iirst came to the front in connection with the Corps. 
When it was ordered to Richmond in April to provide 
the drill-masters for the volunteers of the South, it was 
Jackson, not Gilham, who led the gallant Battalion of 
Cadets over the Blue Ridge and far away to unknown 
fields. Proud of their new leader, and loyal to him as 
one of their clan, yet, they were not of his making. 
Rather, had he become a commander through them, 
than they soldiers through him. It was the prestige 
which he had won here by years of preparation in our 
halls that won for him, at the hands of Virginia, his 
command at Harper's Ferry. 

Before the first shots were exchanged on the soil of 
Virginia, we find that small army at Harper's Ferry 
hammered into shape, groaning under, but proud of, its 
discipline. But, it was not Jackson alone who wrought 
this result. He was but the head — the instrumentalities 
with which the work was done were the field-officers, the 
subalterns and the sprightly drill-masters recruited from 
among the eleves and the cadets of this institution. If 
there be a doubt in one's mind, let him read the regi- 
mental and the company rolls of the brigade which gave 
to its commander at First Manassas the name of "Stone- 
wall." Then, let us ask if in truth it may be said 
Jackson made those men the "Stonewall Brigade," or 
those men made Jackson known to fame, as "Stone- 

During the entire war. West Point contributed 282 
officers to the Confederate Armies. Of this number, 
150 were perhaps in the Army in Virginia. The records 
of the Institute, practically complete now, show that 3 
major-generals, 18 brigadier-generals, 95 colonels, 65 

The Vikginia Military Institute 217 

lieutenant-colonels, 110 majors, 306 captains, and 221 
lieutenants went forth from its halls to the battlefields 
of the war, and that an unduly large proportion 
followed the fortunes of Jackson, from first to last. 
Hence, how absurd is the fallacy of orators, when they 
declaim of the citizen-soldiery of the South — a soldiery 
the very backbone of which was trained in a School of 
Arms second, if at all, to but one other in existence, at 
the time. Jackson did not win his sobriquet with a 
mob of raw mihtia, suddenly, and, as if by the magic of 
his imknown name, transformed into an efficient fight- 
ing-machine. On the contrary, he commanded at First 
Manassas a body of troops which for weeks had been 
drilled and disciplined by a corps of officers, many of 
whom were the trained product of a master-hand. For 
twenty years, the very text of the drill-manual in their 
hands had been upon their lips. 

One frequently finds the historian alluding to the 
ability of Jackson to exact extraordinary sacrifices of 
his officers and men, and endeavoring to analyze his 
character as a leader, in order to arrive at the reason 
for this exceptional power on his part. That he pos- 
sessed a remarkable character, and unusual ability to 
command, is unquestioned. Indirectly, these traits ex- 
plain his success ; but there is a more direct explanation. 
Stonewall Jackson, besides being inherently great, had 
the good fortime to exercise command over, and to be 
associated with armies, the very backbone of which con- 
sisted of young men who had but recently borne to him 
the relation of the pupil to the beloved tutor. The full 
import of this fact becomes more apparent when it is 
recalled that nearly three hundred field-ofiicers alone in 
the Army of Northern Virginia distributed among the 
three branches, besides nearly five himdred subalterns, 
had, for varying periods, been closely associated with 
him, and subjected to the influence of his personality, 
before they were called upon to follow and cooperate 
with him upon the field of war. They were his children, 
his wards, and knew each and every whim of their leader 

218 The Military History of 

for whom only the highest respect was entertained. In 
him, they reposed that subhme confidence which knows 
not reservation, content to rely upon the judgment of 
one who in the closest relations of life had never failed 
them in the past. Unconsciously, perhaps, but, if so, 
all the more thoroughly, they had absorbed his teachings, 
and become able to follow the habit of his mind. And, 
so, when his first successes crowned him with a halo 
of military glory, they who had already accorded him 
the fullest measure of confidence, enthroned him as the 
special object of their pride. From the very first, Jack- 
son's success was redolent of glory for a host of followers 
holding him up to the admiring world as their own 
tutelary genivis. So far as they were concerned, it was 
not an unknown general whose orders bade them follow, 
and suffer, and die upon the field of battle. Their leader 
was Major Jackson, and they were cadets as of yester- 
day, each vying with the others to merit the reward of 
his approving eye. The stern, and occasionally harsh, 
drill-master of former days was now become a leader of 
acknowledged ability, and they — the cadets — had be- 
come the company, the battery, the battalion, the regi- 
mental, yea, the brigade, leaders, in such numbers as to 
leaven the entire army, and to transmit to the whole, 
receptive as it was, their own spirit of pride and de- 

Not only was this true, but to no one was it so well 
known as to Jackson himself. Conscious of the sincerity 
of his own purpose, confident of the power he held, and 
that no demand he might make would fail to elicit the 
fullest possible response from his men, in this spirit it 
was at Chancellorsville — the supreme hour of his life — 
having given his commands, he viewed with pride the 
army which swept before him to execute his bidding; 
and, in the joy of the commander who felt the responsive 
throb of his army's pulse, exclaimed, "The Virginia Mili- 
tary Institute will he heard from to-day." The remark is 
capable of but one reasonable interpretation. Other 
constructions may be placed upon it, but the true one is 
that Jackson, surrounded by Rodes, Colston, and 

The Virginia Military Institute 219 

Crutchfield, all of whom had been his associates in the 
faculty, at the Institute, the last his pupil as well, and 
closely scrutinizing the countenances of his men as thev 
filed past him, saw, in the faces of his youthful but 
seasoned field officers, something portentous of more 
than the usual elan of his troops. Yes, from the eyes of 
the regimental, battahon, and company leaders, a host 
of whom he had guided to manhood's estate, bearing as 
they were the burden of his fame, flashed a mute as- 
surance that nothing save death would deter them, in 
obedience to his behest. And, so, when smitten by fate 
at the hour of his greatest glory, it was his children 
whose hearts were wrung with anguish as they gazed 
upon his fallen form. No mere loss of a heroic leader 
was this to an army, but a wound which tore the very 
heart-strings of his men, many of them regarding the 
blow as prescient of the future. 

Without desiring, in any respect, to detract from the 
fame of the man, who, deprecating the advent of 
fratricidal strife, yet could throw away his scabbard, let 
us ask, where in all the history of war was there another 
so fortimately circumstanced as was Jackson? From a 
psychological viewpoint, he was certainly highly 

It has been reiterated by such mihtary philosophers 
as Biilow, Jomini, Willisen, Clausewitz, Moltke, Von 
der Goltz, Henderson, and Balck, that the moral force 
is the preponderant one in war. The moral force which 
gives men the will-power to overcome all obstacles, to 
shrink from no danger, and to strive for victory at any 
cost, emanates from those sentiments which inspirit men 
to become courageous soldiers. "In a general way, these 
sentiments are, religious zeal, patriotism, enthusiasm for 
a commander, discipline, and, most of all, confidence re- 
sulting from experience."* If these be facts, let us 
apply them to the case imder consideration. 

The prestige of Jackson gave him complete moral 
ascendancy over his men; and that prestige was de- 

*Paychology of War, Eltlnge, p. 64. 

220 The Military History of 

cidedly the outgrowth of an experience which many 
of his subordinates had gained with him, his officers com- 
prising the psychological or suggestive medium, by 
which the spirit of confidence in and enthusiasm for, the 
commander, was generated in his army. 

"The best obeyed commanders are neither the best 
instructed, the most intelligent, the most paternal, nor 
the most severe, but are those who have innate or ac- 
quired prestige. . . . It is because of it that his 
suggestions take on an irresistible power, that he is able 
to throw his soldiers against the enemy in an enthusiastic 
assault, and that he can stop with a gesture the first 
fugitives, tranforming them into heroes."* 

Now, let us follow him to the field of Chancellorsville, 
and see if the Virginia Military Institute did not figure 
in that croAvning success of his career. 

The great soldier had led his turning column across 
the face of Hooker's crouching army. He had recon- 
noitered the vulnerable flank of Howard's 11th 
Corps on the extreme right of the Federal position, and 
his well-formulated orders had been issued with the de- 
cision for which he was noted. It was then nearly five 

While the eager, but silent. Confederates were being 
deployed, their quick intelligence having already 
realized the situation, Jackson sat astride "Little Sor- 
rel" abreast of his first line of battle. With his old 
slouch hat pulled well forward, and his lips tightly com- 
pressed, he calmly, but impatiently, awaited the com- 
pletion of the dispositions for advance. Who shall 
know what were his feelings during this, the supreme, 
hour of his life? Certainly, few soldiers, since the world 
began, have been so situated. Less than half a mile 
before him lay the exposed flank of his enemy, entirely 
unprepared to meet the rush of his fiery battalions. It 
almost seemed that Fame, even had she never favored 
him before, had already spread over his shoulders the 

*Ibid., p. 70. For Psychology of War see "Etudes sur le combat," Duplcq; 
Psychology du Combat de I'lnfantere, Loque ; Les Realities du Combat, Dau- 
dlgnac- Actual Experience in Warfare, Solaviev. 

The Virginia Militaby Institute 221 

cloak of immortality. With that supreme confidence in 
himself, and a confidence in his men which few leaders 
have ever experienced in so high a degree, the hawk of 
the valley was dehberately spreading his pinions for the 
sudden swoop. On the familiar faces of his leaders he 
discerned only the expression which gladdened his heart, 
and forbade thought of failure. There were Rodes and 
Colston of the Institute faculty, in front, and in their 
divisions were not less than 200 brigade, regimental, 
battahon and company leaders, whom he had drilled 
upon the parade ground at Lexington, for this, the 
greatest maneuver of his hfe. On the right, at the head 
of the leading regiment of cavalry, was the dashing 
Munford, and in his rear, the brilliant Crutchfield in 
command of the artillery, both of whom had been his 
pupils, and the latter his associate in the faculty of Vir- 
ginia's great School of Arms. Small wonder was it 
that the inspiration which animated the soul of the 
chieftain penetrated to the very core of his army ! 

In addition to the officers named, many other 
prominent actors in the battle of Chancellorsville had 
been cadets under Jackson. General James H. Lane, 
Captain J. T. Tosh, Colston's Assistant Adjutant-Gen- 
eral; Colonel Thomas H. Carter, Chief of Artillery of 
Rodes's Division; Major H. A. Whiting, A. A. G. 
Rodes's Division; Colonel John M. Brockenbrough, 
commanding Heth's Brigade; Colonel R. M. Mayo, 
47th Virginia; Colonel T. S. Garnett, 48th Virginia, 
commanding brigade; Colonel Frank Mallory,' 5.5th 
Virginia, commanding brigade; Lieutenant-Colonel 
E. P. Taylor, 22d Virginia Battalion; General R. 
Lindsay Walker, Chief of Artillery, A. P. Hill's 
Division; Colonel Briscoe G. Baldwin, Chief of 
Ordnance, A. N. V. ; Colonel R. W. Carter, 1st Virginia 
Cavalry; Colonel Thomas H. Owen, 3d Virginia 
Cavalry; and Colonel W. H. Payne, 4th Virginia 
Cavalry, were among the graduates of the Institute. 
Thus, it is seen that all four of Jackson's cavalry regi- 
ments, two of his divisions, and two battalions of his 

222 The Military History of 

artillery were commanded by former pupils, besides his 
leading brigades, and many batteries and regiments.* 
With these facts before us, can we wonder that he ex- 
claimed, as he set his column in motion early in the 
morning, "The Virginia Military Institute will be 
heard from to-day"? 

At five o'clock, Jackson asked General Rodes, "Are 
you ready?" "Yes", replied Rodes, who then nodded to 
the commander of the skirmish line. At 5:15 p. m. the 
signal for the general advance was given, and almost 
immediately Willis's skirmishers struck the Federal 
pickets along the pike, who fell back, giving the alarm. 
The Confederate bugles rang out all along the advanc- 
ing line like the cry of wild fowl in the teeth of a gale. 
On, past the foremost skirmishers, dashed Breathed, 
with the leading section of his battery, and, unhmber- 
ing on the pike, with each of the two guns, fired a round 
of shell which raked the road and burst like wind-tossed 
flecks of spray from the crest of the onrushing wave. 

Again, success crowned Jackson on this day; but 
while Chancellorsville marked his last feat of arms, it 
does not spell his final victory. Hooker had been driven 
across the Rappahannock ; the tide of invasion had again 
been turned back ; but the bullet which shattered the left 
arm of his lieutenant, had destroyed the right arm of 
Lee; for, on May 10th, the mighty Jackson succumbed, 
eight days after his wounding. But, Death, where was 
thy sting? 

The story of his last hours on earth is one full of 
pathos, as well as of the most inspiring lessons for the 
soldier. In the hour of his death, he was as great as 
when, upon the various battlefields of his career, with 
exalted mien and superb composure, he led his men to 
victory. Concerning his wounding and death. Long- 
street wrote : "The shock was a very severe one to men 
and officers, but the full extent of our loss was not felt 
until the remains of the beloved general had been sent 
home. The dark clouds of the future then began to 

♦In the 2na Virginia Cavalry, Col. Munford commanding, were 23 officers 
who had been cadets. 

The Virginia Military Institute 223 

lower above the Confederates." General Lee, in a 
note to the wounded general on the 3d, in the midst of 
the battle, had declared that could he have directed 
events, he should have chosen, for the good of the 
country, to have been disabled in Jackson's stead. In 
closing his message, he congratulated Jackson upon the 
victory his "skill and energy" had won; but the latter, 
expressing appreciation of his superior's remarks, de- 
clared that General Lee should give the praise to God, 
and not to him. 

Soon after his wounding, he had been removed by 
order of General Lee to the Chandler house, near 
Guiney's Station, where Dr. McGuire did all in his 
power to save him; but on Thursday, the 7th, he de- 
veloped pneumonia of the right lung, doubtless attrib- 
utable to a fall from the litter the night he was wounded 
and carried from the field in the same ambulance with 
poor "Stape" Crutchfield. Fortunately, for his peace 
of mind, Mrs. Jackson arrived this day with her infant 
child, and took the place of his chaplain who had re- 
mained almost constantly with him. By Saturday, 
Doctors Hoge, Breckinridge, and Tucker, had joined 
McGuire in an effort to save him; and, noting their 
presence, he said to Dr. McGuire: "I see from the 
mmiber of physicians that you think my condition is 
dangerous, but I thank God, if it is His will, that I am 
ready to go." When informed by Mrs. Jackson at day- 
light, the next morning, that he should prepare for the 
worst, he was silent for a moment, and then said: "It 
will be infinite gain to be translated to Heaven." And, 
so we see that, although this wonderful man still climg 
to a hope of recovery, his confidence in the future was as 
supreme as his self-confidence had been on earth. Never 
once did he express a doubt of his ability to rise superior 
to present difficulties, or to meet the future. His sole 
request was to be buried in Lexington, in the Valley of 
Virginia, where, as a simple and unassuming professor 
of the science of war, he had kept the smothered fire of 
his genius aglow, while preparing himself, and a host of 

224 The Military History of 

his pupils, for the inevitable struggle which he had fore- 
seen. When told by his wife that before sundown he 
would be in Heaven, he called for Dr. McGuire, and 
asked him if he must die. To the affirmative answer he re- 
ceived, his reply was, "Very good, very good, it is all 
right." His efforts were then to comfort his heart- 
broken wife, and when Colonel "Sandie" Pendleton, of 
Lexington, entered his room about 1 :00 p. M.^ he in- 
quired who was preaching at headquarters on this, his 
last. Sabbath. Being informed that the whole army 
was praying for him, he said: "Thank God, they are 
very kind. It is the Lord's day; my wish is fulfilled. I 
have always desired to die on Sunday." 

His mind now began to weaken, while his lips 
frequently muttered commands, as if he were on the 
field of battle — then words of comfort for his wife. 
When tendered a drink of brandy and water, he declined 
it, saying: "It will only delay my departure, and do no 
good. I want to preserve my mind, if possible, to the 
last." Again, he was told that but few hours remained 
for him, and, again, he replied feebly, but firmly: "Very 
good, it is all right." 

In the deliriimi which preceded his death, he cried 
out : "Order A. P. Hill to prepare for action ; pass the 
infantry to the front rapidly; tell Major Hawks" — 
then, pausing, a smile of ineffable sweetness spread 
over his pallid face, and with an expression as if of re- 
hef, he said: "No, no; let us cross over the river and 
rest under the shade of the trees." Then, without sign 
of pain, or the least struggle, his spirit passed onward 
and upward to God. 

Such, were the final moments of the great soldier. 
With body all but cold in death, as long as his pulse con- 
tinued, the dictates of his heart were pure. Almost to 
the instant that heart ceased to beat, his mind had given 
evidence of the quality of the man in the flash of the will, 
though now sub-conscious, which possessed his spirit. 
Still, his mind dwelt upon rapid action and the rush of 
the infantry, which ever filled his soul with joy; but, 

i_\'^^[^iAyD^s'r ov Cadet.s 184r.-1,S('.: 

I'TIOFES SOK 1 «4»)-l Sn.j 

The Virginia Militaby Institute 225 

then, even in that last flicker of his intellect, he realized 
that the flag of truce had been raised by his enemies, and 
interposing the stay of his final words, "No, no — ,"* he 
died in the happiness of the earthly victory he had won. 

Let us be thankful that his men were preparing to 
rest upon their arms and were not engaged in the heated 
turmoil of the charge, when he bade them farewell. Let 
us be thankful that this dispensation was granted him 
by the Maker who gently led him to the shade of the 
riverside, where rested all those gallant youths who had 
preceded him. No longer were they his pupils, and his 
subordinates in war, but his equals in the Eternity of 

At five o'clock p. m.^ May 12th, the following com- 
munication was received at the Institute : 

"Adjutant-General's Office, 

"Richmond, Va., May 11, 1868. 

"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute. 

"Sir — By command of the Governor, I have this day to perform 
the most painful duty of my official life, in announcing to you, and 
through you to the Faculty and Cadets of the Virginia Military 
Institute, the death of the great and good, the heroic and illustrious 
Lieutenant-General T. J. Jackson, at fifteen minutes past three 
o'clock, yesterday afternoon. 

"This heavy bereavement over which every true heart within 
the bounds of the Confederacy mourns with inexpressible sorrow, 
must fall, if possible, with heavier force upon that noble State 
Institution to which he came from the battlefields of Mexico, and 
where he gave to his native State the first years' service of his 
modest and unobtrusive, but public-spirited and useful, life. 

"It would be a senseless waste of words to attempt a eulogy 
upon this great among the greatest of the sons who have im- 
mortalized Virginia. To the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia 
Military Institute, what a legacy he has left you, what an example 
of all that is good and great and true in the character of a Christian 
soldier !' 

"The Governor directs that the highest funeral honors be paid 
to his memory, and that the customary outward badges of mourning 
be worn by all the officers and cadets of the Institute. 

"By command, 

"W. H. Richardson, A.-G." 

•According to Captain James Power Smitb, Jackson's last remarks Included 
the two words, no, no, and were not, as usually quoted, without those words. 


226 The Military History or 

And, so, but an earthly rite remained to those whom 
the great soldier had left behind. Far off from the 
scene of conflict, that youthful band, bound together 
then as it is now by the traditions of his fame, awaited, 
with lips compressed and watery eyes, the duty which of 
right they claimed, a privilege ungrudgingly accorded 
them by the world. 

The news of General Jackson's death came as a shock 
to the Institute, and to the people of Lexington, where 
no one had thought seriously of the possibiUty of losing 
him. The grief in the community was intense, and 
everybody was in tears. Men had made an idol of their 
fellow being, and now God rebuked them. The beauti- 
ful sky, and the rich perfumed spring air of Lexington, 
seemed dai'kened by the oppressive sorrow everywhere 
to be seen. 

Hear, now, the words which, with faltering voice, the 
Acting Adjutant read to the assembled Corps: 

"Headquarters^ Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 13, 1863. 

"General Orders — No. 30. 

"It is the painful duty of the Superintendent to announce to 
the officers and cadets of this Institution the death of their late 
associate and Professor, Lieutenant-General Thomas J. Jackson. 
He died at Guiney's Station, Caroline County, Virginia, on the 
10th inst., of pneumonia, after a short but violent illness, which 
supervened upon the severe wound received in the battle of 

"A nation mourns the loss of General Jackson. First in the 
hearts of the brave men he has so often led to victory, there is 
not a home in the Confederacy that will not feel the loss, and 
lament it as a great national calamity. But our loss is distinctive.. 
He was peculiarly our own. He came to us in 1851, a Lieutenant 
and Brevet-Major of Artillery from the Army of the late United 
States, upon the unanimous appointment of the Board of Visitors, 
as Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and In- 
structor of Artillery. Here, he labored with scrupulous fidelity 
for ten years in the duties of these important offices. Here, he 
became a soldier of the Cross, and as an humble, conscientious and 
useful Christian man he established a character which has developed 
into the world-renowned Christian hero. 

The Virginia Military Institute 227 

"On the 21st of April, upon the order of His Excellency, 
Governor Letcher, he left the Institute in command of the Corps 
of Cadets for Camp Lee, Richmond, for service in the defense of 
his State and country; and he has never known a day of rest 
until called by Divine command to cease from his labors. 

"The military career of General Jackson fills the most brilliant 
and momentous page in the history of our country, and of the 
achievement of our arms, and he stands forth a colossal figure in 
this War of our Independence. 

"His country now returns him to us — not as he was when he left 
us. His spirit has gone to God who gave it. His mutilated body 
comes back to us — to his home, to be laid by us in the tomb. 
Keverently and affectionately, we will discharge this last solemn 
duty, and, 

" 'Though his earthly sun is set 

Its light shall linger round us yet — 
Bright, radiant, blest.' 

"Young gentlemen of the Corps of Cadets, the memory of Gen- 
eral Jackson is very precious to you. You know how faithfully, 
how conscientiously he discharged every duty. You know that he 
was emphatically a man of God, and that Christian principle im- 
pressed every act of his life. You know how he sustained the 
honor of our arms when he commanded at Harper's Ferry; how 
gallantly he repulsed Patterson at Hainesville ; the invincible stand 
he made with the Stonewall Brigade at Manassas. You know the 
brilliant series of successes and victories which immortalized his 
Valley campaign, for many of you were under his standard at Mc- 
Dowell and pursued the discomfited Banks and Schenck to Franklin. 
You know his rapid march to the Chickahominy ; how he turned the 
flank of McClellan at Gaines's Mill; his subsequent victory over 
Pope at Cedar Mountain; the part he bore in the great victory at 
Second Manassas; his investment and capture of Harper's Ferry; 
his rapid march and great conflict at Sharpsburg; and, when 
his last conflict was past, the tribute of the magnanimous Lee 
who would gladly have suffered in his own person, could he by 
that sacrifice have saved General Jackson, and to whom, alone, 
under God, he gave the whole glory of the great victory at 
Chancellor sville . 

"Surely, the Virginia Military Institute has a precious in- 
heritance in the memory of General Jackson. God gave him to 
us and to his country. God fitted him for his work, and, when 
his work was done, He called him to Himself. Submissive to the 
wiU. of his Heavenly Father — it may be said of him that while in 
every heart there may be some mourning — his will was to do and 
suffer the will of God. 

228 The Military History of 

"Reverence the memory of such a man as General Jackson. 
Imitate his virtues, and, here, over his lifeless remains, reverently 
dedicate your service and life, if need be, in defense of that cause 
so dear to his heart — the cause for which he fought and bled — the 
cause in which he died. 

"Let the Cadet Battery which he so long commanded honor his 
memory by half-hour guns to-morrow from sunrise to sunset, under 
the direction of the Commandant of Cadets.* Let his lecture-room 
be draped in mourning for the period of six months. 

"Let the officers and cadets of the Institute wear the usual badge 
of mourning for the period of thirty days ; and it is respectfully 
recommended to all the Alumni of the Institute to unite in this last 
tribute of respect to the memory of their late Professor. 

"By command of Major-General Smith, 

"A. G. Hill, 

"Actg. Adjt., V. M. I." 

Thursday evening, May 14th, the body of Jackson, 
accompanied by his wife and child, his former aide, 
Captain James Power Smith,** and a number of others, 
arrived at Lexington on a canal boat, which had trans- 
ported the remains from Richmond via Lynchburg, t 
It was met by the Corps of Cadets and all the officers 
of the Institute, as well as the entire populace of the 
town, and escorted by the Corps to Barracks where the 
body was laid in state in the old tower Section Room, 
Number 39, in which Jackson had said, "If war must 
come, as a soldier I will welcome war!" That evening, 
at Retreat, the following order was read : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 14, 1863. 

"General Orders — No. 37. 

"1. The funeral of Lieutenant-General Jackson will take place 
to-morrow. Major Scott Shipp, Commandant of Cadets, will com- 
mand the military escort, and direct the procession. 

"2. The body will move from the Institute at 11 o'clock a. m. 

"3. Half-hour guns will be fired from sunrise until the pro- 
cession moves. 

*There were now but five pieces in the battery. One howitzer had been 
lost in the Potomac by Milledge's Battery on the retreat from Sharpsburg. 
See report of General Pendleton on Sharpsburg Campaign. Eebellion Eecords. 

**Llving still, a distinguished minister of the Presbyterian Church. 

tCol. James W. Massie was later designated to accompany Mrs. Jackson to 
her home in North Carolina. 

The Virginia Military Institute 229 

"4. The Flags of the State and Confederacy will be displayed 
at half-mast during the day. 

"By command of Major-General Smith, 

"A. G. HiLi,, 

"Actg. Adjt., V. M. I." 

It was now, as the cadets with reversed arms and 
muffled drums, bore the remains of their martial divinity 
back to Barracks, that they first reahzed that Jackson 
was dead. 

"Could it be possible? They had beheved that he 
had a charmed life. The Institute had sent a host of 
magnificent officers to the front. There were Rodes, 
Mahone, Lindsay Walker, The Patton brothers, Lane, 
Crutchfield, McCausland, Colston, and many others of 
lower rank ; but 'Old Jack' was, from his shoulders and 
upwards, tallest among the people, in the estimation of 
the cadets." 

The Corps furnished sentinels from the Guard to keep 
the mournful vigil, while the people of the town and 
county thronged to the Barracks to view the remains. 
Men, women, and children wept over Jackson's bier as 
if his death were a personal affliction, and in the great 
Barracks the voice of the cadet was choked with sorrow. 
Flowers were piled high about the casket until it was 
hidden from view; and, the sun set brilhantly beyond 
the House Mountain, spreading its mellow light over 
the great parade ground, and piercing the casemate 
window of the embattled tower with its searching rays; 
the fragrant lilacs about the bier glistened in the fading 
hours of day as if wet with nature's tears and those of 
the heartbroken mourners who had borne them thither. 

How jealously the yovmg soldiers, detailed to guard 
the bier of Jackson through that night, prized the duty 
which befell them ! But hmidreds are even yet to come, 
who, in the still hours of the night, as they saunter back 
and forth upon the lonely sentry post, will, in spirit, 
guard the remains of Jackson — the sacred heritage of 
his erstwhile presence. 

230 The Military History or 

Friday, May 15th,- the body was again escorted by 
the Corps, the Cadet Battery which he had commanded 
for ten years at the Institute, and in battle at First 
Manassas, comprising the Artillery escort, as ordered. 
The coffin, draped with the first Confederate flag ever 
made, presented by President Davis to Mrs. Jackson, 
was placed on one of the caissons upon which were 
heaped beautiful wreaths and wild flowers. The horses 
were led by the servants of the Institute acting as 

The escort was commanded by the Commandant, 
Major Shipp, a former pupil of Jackson's, and, in ad- 
dition to the battery, consisted of a regiment of infantry 
of which the cadets comprised eight companies; de- 
tached members of the Stonewall Brigade, one 
company; and a number of convalescent soldiers from 
the Institute hospital, one company. Two troops of 
cavalry of Sweeney's Squadron, Jenkins' command 
(many of its members being from Jackson's native 
section) , by a strange coincidence, happened to be pass- 
ing through Lexington from the West, just at the hour 
appointed for the procession to move ! They halted, pro- 
cured mourning for their colors, and joined the escort. 

The military escort, followed by a great number of 
people, moved first to the Presbyterian Church where 
ceremonies, wonderfully pathetic in their simplicity 
and the strength of their appeal, were conducted, and 
then to the Cemetery where the remains were interred, 
with the military honors appropriate for a Lieutenant- 
General. But the crash of musketry and cannon was 
lost, for in the ears and hearts of those assembled rung 
the words of the funeral hymn — 

"How blest the righteous when he dies!" 

How fitting it was that the Chapel in which his life- 
less body lay in state should be the Section-Room in 
which for ten long years he set so noble an example! 
How fitting is was that the hearse which bore to the 
grave all that was earthly of the great soldier-professor 

The Virginia Military Institute 231 

should be a caisson of the battery he had so long com- 
manded, with which he had trained the Confederate 
Artillery, and among the flashing guns of which he re- 
ceived his immortal sobriquet! 

In the shadow of the Blue Ridge, on the gentle emi- 
nence commanding the lovehest view of the peaceful, 
picturesque vales beyond, and with the great House 
Mountain as his headstone, which, like a huge sentinel, 
stands guard beside the parade ground of his life, 
tenderly was his body laid to rest by the youthful 
soldiers he loved so weU. But, still with the imcovered 
blade of immortality, — - 

His spirit wraps yon dusky mountain, 
His memory sparkles o'er each fountain; 
The meanest rill, the mightiest river, 
Rolls, mingling his fame with theirs forever.* 

Cadets of yesterday, what privileges were yours! 
What influences were these that entered into your lives ! 
How we, to-day, envy you the exalting scenes amid 
which you wore the coatee, consoled only by the know- 
ledge that you, and the noblest traditions of your deeds, 
belong to us, for all time. That you were not un- 
worthy of your opportunities, your records show, and 
on the page of one we read : 

"Next day, we buried him with pomp of war, the 
cadets his escort of honor ; with minute guns and tolling 
bells, and most impressive circumstances, we bore him 
to his rest. But those ceremonies were to me far less 
impressive than walking post in that bare sentry room, 
in the still hours of night, reflecting that there lay all 
that was left of one whose name still thrilled the world." 

The burial of Stonewall Jackson made a deep im- 
pression upon the Corps of Cadets, a body of youth to 
whom death was no longer strange. For months at the 
Institute, each day had dawned fraught with messages 
of blood and loss. Each hour had swelled the list of the 
Alimmi who had fallen in the battles of their country. 



The Military History of 

Before the summer of 1862, the following record was 

engraven upon the minds of every member of the 
Corps : 

Brig.- Lieut.- 

Gens. Cols. Cols. Maj. Capt. Lieut. Pri. 

Killed or died 1 18 8 4 22 20 13 — 86 

Wounded 3 18 14 11 19 20 85 








But this list was only indicative of the sacrifice yet to 
be made, and only partially shows the way in which the 
Institute was to repay to the State its debt of gratitude.* 

It had been the custom of the cadets, when things 
went amiss in the army, to say, "Wait until 'Old Jack' 
gets there; he will straighten matters out." They felt, 
therefore, that his loss was irreparable. The cold face 
on which they had looked taught them lessons which 
the curriculum of no college taught^ — lessons which even 
the cadet of to-day pursues with the text-book of 
tradition in his hand. 

•The Class of 1858, with 19 members alone, 
limbs — Reid, Cutshaw, and Wilson. 

lost 7 in battle, and 3 lost 

The Virginia Military Institute 233 



After the death of Jackson, many cadets resolved 
to delay no longer gaining the necessary authority from 
their parents to enter the army, and some even without 
taking that step, resigned, or took "French" leave of 
the Institute, without waiting for the end of the session. 

The annual examinations were ordered to begin June 
22d, and, upon their termination on June 30th, the 
Corps was mustered and placed in camp, after a re- 
view before the Board of Visitors, and a board of army 
officers detailed by the War Department to inspect the 
Institute.* The Army Board consisted of Brigadier- 
Generals A. K. Lawton, A. G. Blanchard, R. E. 
Colston, and Roger A. Pryor. 

On July 4th, the final exercises were held ; ten cadets 
were graduated, and furloughs were granted the Second 
Class. The Corps now numbered 215 cadets, the largest 
mmiber of old cadets ever mustered at the Institute up 
to that time. 

Those familiar with the history of this period will not 
forget that on the 4th of July, 1863, when the final 
exercises at the Institute were being held, the great 
battle of Gettysburg had just been fought, and the 
surrender of Vicksburg was taking place. 

After Lee's retreat from Pennsylvania, the cry for 
men to fill the depleted ranks was loud. Captain Wil- 
fred E. Cutshaw, V. M. I., '58, a gallant artilleryman, 
temporarily incapacitated for active duty by a wound 
received in the battle of Winchester in 1862, had, under 
the orders of the War Department, reported for duty 
at the Institute on June 6th. 

'S. O. No. 140, A. & I. C. 0. June 12, 1863. 

234 The Military History of 

With such an officer present to command the Corps 
there was no pressing need for the Commandant to re- 
main during the summer, and, without hesitating, he, 
together with Lieutenants H. A. Wise, and J. G. 
Miller, tactical officers, departed to join the army; 
John E. Roller, and Joseph B. Prince, just graduated, 
taking the places of the last two, as Assistant Pro- 
fessors. R. A. Crawford of this Class was later ap- 
pointed a tactical officer, and subsequently died in the 

During the dark days following Gettysburg, Scott 
Shipp, Commandant of Cadets, formerly Major, 21st 
Virginia Infantry, served as a private soldier in the 4th 
Virginia Cavalry.* Later, he was urged by all field 
officers of his old regiment except one to accept the 
colonelcy, but the Secretary of War would not allow 
him to do so as a single field officer would not waive his 
right to advancement. His sole desire was to serve where 
most needed. In those perilous times, men paid little 
heed to superficial marks of rank. Let it be remembered 
how he, whose frock coat bore the insignia of a field- 
officer of infantry, sprung into the saddle of the alert 
vidette to patrol the outposts, when the troops he might 
have commanded lay bleeding and resting in their 
camps. Such was the stuff of which this stern soldier 
was made ; and when the gravest danger had passed, he 
reluctantly resumed his post at the Institute which a 
wotinded comrade had filled in his absence. 

The monotony of the summer camp, and drilling, was 
broken in August, when, on the 13th, Captain Cutshaw, 
the Acting Commandant, was directed at the request of 
General Colston, to furnish Captain R. D. Lilley (V. 
M. I.), District Enrolling Officer, with a detachment 
to round up a party of deserters. 

The detachment consisting of 50 cadets under the 
command of Lieutenant Wise, who had returned to 

•He was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel of tlie Institute, July 7th, 1863 by 
the Board of Visitors. 

The Virginia Military Institute 235 

duty,* was ordered to scour the mountain haunts in 
the vicinity of Lexington, where many deserters were 
known to be in hiding. This was dangerous, though 
ignominious, duty, attended with many hardships and 
httle prospect of a successful issue. The bold 
mountaineers were as little apt to surrender to the 
patrols without desperate resistance, if cornered, as they 
were to allow themselves to be apprehended in the rug- 
ged hill country every foot of which they had known 
since boyhood. The effort to apprehend the deserters 
and force them back into the ranks, where men were so 
greatly needed, was abandoned at the end of the second 
day, without mishap, or success, of any kind. Subse- 
quently, the Corps was called upon to furnish detach- 
ments for similar work on a number of occasions. 

Another incident, more stirring than deserter-hunt- 
ing, occurred late in August. 

On the 5th of August, Brigadier-General William W- 
Averell, commanding the 4th Separate Cavalry Bri- 
gade, 8th Army Corps, U. S. Army, set out from Win- 
chester, Virginia, with about 3,500 men and 8 guns, on 
a raid the object of which was to destroy the various 
saltpetre works in the western part of Virginia. After 
skirmishes at Cold Spring Gap and Moorefield, West 
Virginia, on the 5th and 6th, he destroyed the saltpetre 
works near Franklin on the 19th, brushed the Con- 
federate cavalry aside in a skirmish at Himtersville on 
the 22d, and again near Warm Springs, Virginia, on 
the 24th. His destination was then Covington, a point 
less than forty miles from Lexington. 

Having driven the force under Colonel William L. 
Jackson, consisting of about 900 men, out of Pocahontas 
County, Averell determined to turn his colimm toward 
Lewisburg, in the hope that the movement up to Warm 
Springs had deceived the Confederates and led them 
to beheve he was heading for Staunton. On the 25th, 

*Eesignatlon tendered July 4th, 1863, accepted July 7tli, reappointed July 

Colonel Shlpp, or "Old Shipp", as the cadets called him, was frequently 
tendered commands In the field and constantly sought active service, but each 
time his resignation as Commandant was rejected and the greatest pressure 
brought to bear to keep him at the Institute. 

236 The Military History of 

after detaching a regiment back to Huntersville, he 
made a rapid march of 25 miles to Callaghan's, 
in Alleghany County, destroying the saltpetre works 
on Jackson's River, as he passed. From Callaghan's 
reconnoitering parties were sent out toward Covington 
and Sweet Springs. The saltpetre works near Coving- 
ton were also destroyed, and a small wagon train 

On the morning of the 25th, Jackson's infantry was 
near Old Millboro, and his cavalry pickets near Bath 
Alum. His plan was, if Averell pressed him, to make 
a stand at Panther Gap, near Goshen Depot, and en- 
deavor to hold that position until he could receive re- 
inforcements from Lexington. With this plan in 
mind, he at once called on Colonel Edmondson, com- 
manding the Home Guard in Lexington, and the 
Superintendent of the Institute, to support him. Ac- 
cordingly, the following order was at once issued : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"August 26, 1863. 
"Special Order — ^No. 155. 

"1. An urgent call having been made by Brigadier-General 
W. L. Jackson, for reinforcements, and particularly for artillery, 
to enable him to repel a threatened attack by the enemy, upon the 
borders of this county, which, if successful, would expose the 
Institute, and the county, to the outrages of an unscrupulous foe, 
and the Home Guard of Lexington having promptly responded to 
this call, the Superintendent deems it his duty to make use of every 
available man of this Institution in this important defense. He 
considers this the only effectual means now at command to give 
safety and security to the public property committed to the charge 
of the Corps of Cadets. 

"The Acting Commandant of Cadets, Captain W. E. Cutshaw, 
will immediately make a detail of four detachments of cadets to 
man four pieces of artillery, and to organize two companies of 
cadets as an infantry support, and he will march without delay 
and join the command of General Jackson, for such temporary duty 
as the emergency calls for. 

"2. The Commissary will supply cooked rations for two days 
for the command, and additional uncooked rations for five days. 

"3. The Quartermaster of the Confederate Stables has con- 
sented to supply horses for the Artillery. 

The Virginia Military Institute 237 

"4. The Surgeon will make all necessary provisions for the care 
of the sick and disabled. 

"5. The solemn responsibility which again withdraws the Corps 
of Cadets from their regular duties is an appeal to that patriotism 
which burns in every Southern heart. The Superintendent con- 
fidently relies upon the courage and fidelity of this command in 
all the duties to which they may be called. He shares their dangers 
and their hardships with them, and he trusts they may soon be 
privileged to return to their post of duty. 

"By command of Major-General F. H. Smith. 

"A. G. Hill, 

"Actg. Adjt., r M. I." 

Leaving Lexington about noon on the 25th, with 
two cadet companies, and the four 6-pounders, Captain 
Cutshaw bivouacked at Rockbridge Baths, 11 miles, 
that night, reaching Goshen, 10 miles, early on the 26th, 
preceded by Colonel Edmondson with two companies 
of Home Guards, numbering about forty men. 

On reaching Goshen, General Smith, who ac- 
companied the Corps, was informed by Colonel W. L. 
Jackson that the enemy had fallen back, the main 
column to Pocahontas, some cavalry taking the Hot 
Springs road toward Greenbrier. Later, a dispatch was 
received from Jackson, who was at Millboro, asking 
General Smith and Colonel Edmondson to cooperate 
with him in making a diversion to prevent the enemy 
from attacking Lewisburg, and begging, especially, that 
the cadet artillery be loaned him. 

While willing enough to risk battle in the defense of 
Lexington and the Institute, the Superintendent re- 
called too well the action of the Governor and the Board 
of Visitors, in connection with the McDowell affair, to 
authorize the participation of the cadets in offensive 
field operations. 

To Colonel Jackson's request he, therefore, replied 
that he did not feel authorized to take the cadets upon 
any military operations, except in protection of the 
State property they were supposed to guard; but be- 
lieving that this protection could best be rendered by 
the support of the Confederate troops at Panther Gap, 

238 The Military History of 

he had promptly moved forward to that point. He 
also stated that he feared to leave Lexington unpro- 
tected longer, without the express orders of the Gover- 
nor, and that a dispatch from Colonel Nadenboush, 
commanding at Staunton, informed him that General 
Imboden had sent forward reinforcements. 

Notwithstanding the strong pressure brought to bear 
on him by the citizens of Bath County and the neighbor- 
hood of Goshen to let the cadets accompany Jackson, the 
Superintendent ordered the Corps back that night to 
Rockbridge Alum Springs, and the Home Guards 
followed. Bivouacking for the night at the Alum, the 
Corps reached Barracks at 5 p. m. on the 27th, after a 
march of twenty miles during that day, and about fifty 
miles since leaving Lexington on the 25th. 

The Cadet command on this occasion was largely 
composed of new cadets, the First Class having 
graduated, and the Second Class being on furlough, and 
it was miserably armed and shod. 

At Rocky Gap, Jiear White Sulphur Springs, 
Averell was checked by Colonel Jackson's command, 
and the First Brigade, Army of Western Virginia, 
under the gallant Colonel George S. Patton, V. M. I., 
'52. After sufPering severe loss, the Federal raiding 
column retreated to Beverly, West Virginia, having 
covered nearly 700 miles in less than thirty days; and 
the threatened danger to Lexington and the Institute 
was past.* 

On the 28th of August, Captain Cutshaw received 
orders to rejoin his command, having been promoted 
Major of Artillery, and Lieutenant-Colonel Shipp, who 
had returned, resumed his duties as Commandant of 

The Corps had marched 50 miles without seeing hair 
or hide of an enemy. The weather in the movmtains in 
late August is always cool during the nights, but in 

•See Reports of Brigadier-General Averell, Major-General Samuel Jones, 
Commanding Department of Western Virginia, Col. William L. Jackson, and 
Col. George S. Patton, Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part I, pp. 

The Virginia Military Institute 239 

1863 it was unusually so. Poorly shod, and with cloth- 
ing entirely inadequate for field service at such a season, 
the cadets suffered extremely from the chillness of the 
weather, and found little in the experience to com- 
pensate for the hardships they were called upon to en- 
dure. Nevertheless, the fact that the Corps was 
regarded by the military authorities as always ready 
and available for service, was a matter of pride to the 
cadets and proved a valuable handle to discipline. The 
experiences of the Corps at Charles Town in 1859, 
Camp Lee in 1861, McDowell in 1862, and on the oc- 
casion of Averell's raid in August, 1863, instilled in the 
body of cadets an esprit de corps productive of the best 
results. Not one of the young soldiers but felt the satis- 
faction of having borne arms in the service of his 
country, and though they had never yet been in action, 
as a unit, they knew that they were but temporarily 
withheld from active duty in the field, in order that soon 
they might render a higher service as officers, and 
emulate the noble examples on the field of battle of 
those who daily went forth to the army from their 

Notwithstanding the drain upon the South for men, 
and the fact that the cradle was being hterally robbed, 
new cadets continued to report for duty throughout the 
summer of 1863; so that when the Corps broke camp, 
September 1st, it numbered about 275 cadets, this being 
the largest enrollment in the history of the Institute, 
up to that time. Of the 500 applicants, only 127 could 
be received. 

Impressed with the inefiiciency of the arms with which 
the Corps was provided, in the recent field service, the 
Superintendent, upon his return from Goshen, at once 
addressed the Adjutant- General on the subject. 

Upon the reorganization of the Corps, January 1, 
1862, he had urged that 36 horses be provided the 
Institute for the use of the battery in order that better 
artillery instruction might be given ; but the scarcity of 
animals had prevented compliance with this wise sug- 

240 The Military History of 

The artillery material of the battery still consisted of 
the four 6-pounder smooth-bore brass guns, and one 
12 -pounder Howitzer, the other having been lost in the 
Potomac by Milledge's Battery, as said before, on the 
retreat from Sharpsburg. The small arms consisted of 
old smooth-bore muskets. Accordingly he forwarded 
a requisition for two rifled field guns, such as the Corps 
had turned over to the Ordnance Officer at Camp Lee, 
and 200 rifled muskets, with 400 rounds of fixed 
artillery ammunition, and about 20,000 rovmds of 
musket cartridges. 

"If the Governor has no means within his power to 
order these munitions from the ordnance department of 
Virginia, I think it probable a plain statement of the 
facts of the case would cause the President to order the 
same from the ordnance department of the Confederate 

"Had the enemy continued to force Colonel Jackson 
towards Panther Gap, the cadets would have given him 
support at that point. But how unequally would they 
have been called upon to render the necessary duty? 
Exposed to the Parrott guns and Enfield rifles of the 
enemy, this battery would have been disabled before 
coming within effective range for this service, while the 
cannoneers would have been picked off by the sharp- 
shooters, without the means of reply. These mountain 
passes may be readily guarded; and if my application 
is favorably and promptly met, this county will be fully 

In his report of the part borne by the cadets in the 
Averell raid, the Superintendent also said: 

"And now, while matters are taking the direction of greater 
pressure from the enemy, I should be pleased to receive specific 
directions from the Governor, and Board of Visitors, and Adjutant- 
General, as to my duty in these emergencies crowding as they do 
upon us, in a moment of panic. I want to do my whole duty, but 
before doing it, / must know what that duty is."** 

♦General Francis H. Smith, to Adjutant-General of Virginia, Auenst 28, 1863. 
••Letter of August 27, 1863. 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 241 
In reply, the following letter was received: 

"Adjutant-General's Office, Va., 

September 4, 1863. 

"General — Your reports of the 25th, 27th and 28th ultimo have 
been received, and laid before the Governor by whom I am in- 
structed to say that he highly approves your prompt and energetic 
action in moving the Corps of Cadets to the support of Col. William 
L. Jackson, when pressed by the enemy at a point where their 
success might have endangered the Institute and public property 
in your charge, the emergency admitting of no delay for orders. 

"To disembarrass you of all doubts and diflSculties which may 
grow out of the movements of the enemy in that portion of the 
State, and appreciating in its fullest force the necessity of deter- 
mining, as you request, what your duty is, or may be, in any 
contingency, the Governor decides that, although general military 
service is not due from the Corps of Cadets to the State, yet, that 
the Corps, to the extent of guarding and defending the Military 
Institute, and other public property connected with it, being a part 
of the military establishment of the State, may, and must, be used 
for that purpose, when the necessity arises ; and whether that 
defense be necessary upon the spot, or at a distance even of fifty 
miles, that does not aflfect or impair the obligation to meet the duty 
as the guard of the Institution. 

"Emergencies may arise at any time, while a state of war exists, 
which may compel you to make the defense of the Institute at some 
other and distant point, or points. Of this, the Governor desires 
me to say that you must of necessity decide, when there is no time 
to communicate with the Commander-in-Chief. Your own military 
attainments and experience, in his estimation, will always enable 
you, better than he can do at a distance, to determine upon the 
time, the place, and the measure of such defense as may be needful. 
It is scarcely necessary to add that needless exposure of the Corps 
of Cadets shall be carefully avoided. 

"You will act in accordance with these instructions until further 
orders, unless some legislative action shall otherwise determine. 

"The armament of the Corps of Cadets will be improved to the 
extent of means at the Governor's control. 

"By command, 

"Wm. H. Richardson, 

"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Supt. V. M. Institute." 

These instructions were broad, and allowed the 
Superintendent a discretion which, we shall see, was 
fully exercised. 


242 The Military History of 

Perceiving the danger to which the Institute was ex- 
posed, and the excellent service it was capable of ren- 
dering, in the defense of Lexington, and other exposed 
points which the forces under Major-General Samuel 
Jones, commanding the Department of the West, and 
those under Imboden in the Valley District, were not 
always capable of guarding, the Governor not 
only authorized the Superintendent to supplement the 
efforts of the Home Guard companies which at this time 
were being encouraged all through the State, but 
directed the issue of better arms to the Corps. 

Accordingly, two captured, U. S. Ordnance rifled 
field pieces, and 200 rifled muskets were soon shipped to 
the Institute from Lynchburg, and, throughout the re- 
mainder of the war, comprised the armament of the 
Corps of Cadets. 

During the summer of 1863, other ordnance had also 
been received at the Institute, but these gims were un- 
serviceable and procured by the Superintendent merely 
as ornamental relics. 

For years, there had been stored in the Arsenal at 
Richmond a number of bronze French gims of the most 
superb pattern. Cast in the reign of Louis XIV, who 
was noted for his elaborate ordnance, they had been sent 
to Virginia by Lafayette with other arms, during the 
Revolutionary War. In 1862, so scarce was the supply 
of gun metal that the old French guns were being 
melted up at the Tredegar Works, and recast into 
howitzers. Upon learning of this desecration. General 
Smith, with the aid of General Richardson, secured for 
the Institute the remaining guns which included two 
6-pounders, two 9-pounders, and two 24-pounders, all 
of which were at once moimted on stone pedestals in 
front of the Cadet Barracks. 

It so happened, and by an odd coincidence, that two 
other relic guns were also received, these 6-pounder 
pieces having been cast at the Tredegar Works in 
March, 1862, from the metal obtained from six of the 
large French guns referred to. By order of the Gover- 

The Virginia Military Institute 248 

nor, they were issued to the famous Letcher Battery of 
Richmond (named in his honor), of which Greenlee 
Davidson, of Lexington, was the captain, and Charles 
EUis Munford, John Tyler, Thomas A. Brander, and 
Wilham E. Tanner, the heutenants. They were first 
used at Mechanicsville, June 26, 1862, next at Malvern 
Hill where Lieutenant Munford was killed, and one 
of them was used at Warrenton Springs, Second 
Manassas, Harper's Ferry, and Fredericksburg. 

The Letcher Battery was rearmed with rifles captured 
at Harper's Ferry, and, after the gallant death of 
Captain Davidson at ChanceUorsville, the two brass 
veterans were presented to the Institute by the officers 
of the battery, as a memorial to their former commander, 
and movmted side by side with the sister pieces of those 
from which they were cast. They still remain in front 
of Barracks. 

244 The Militaky History of 



Gettysburg! What days were those when the earth 
reeled and the heavens rocked heneath the blows of the 
struggling Titans! 

Not alone at First and Second Manassas, throughout 
the Valley campaign, at Sharpsburg, Fredericksburg, 
and Chancellorsville, had the Institute played a leading 
role, for, while there was no Jackson left to testify to 
their deeds, on no battlefield of the war, — Chancellors- 
ville not excepted, — did the graduates of the Institute 
play so prominent a part as on that of Gettysburg. 

It would be impracticable to enumerate the deeds of 
them all. It will suffice to mention a few, and claim for 
the Institute its just share in what has been said to be 
the most heroic feat of arms in the great war of 1861-65. 

Accordingly, the organization of Pickett's Division 
will be given, and the V. M. I. field-officers therein, 

Garnett's Brigade. 

8th Virginia^ Lieut.-Col. Norborne Berkeley, '48, commanding 
(after Colonel Eppa Hunton was wounded). 
18th Virginia, Lieut.-Col. H. A. Carrington, '51, commanding. 

Major Edwin G. Wall, '48. 
19th Virginia, Col. Henry Gantt, '51, commanding. 
Lieut.-Col. John T. Ellis, '48. 
Major Waller M. Boyd, '61. 
28th Virginia, Col. Robert C. Allen, '56, commanding. 
Major William L. Wingfield, '59. 
Major Nathaniel C. Wilson, '58. 
56th Virginia, Col. William D. Stuart, '50, commanding. 
Lieut.-Col. Philip P. Slaughter, '51. 

The Virginia Military Institute 245 

Armistead's Brigade. 

9th Virginia, Lieut.-Col. Jasper J. Phillips, '53.* 
Major Mark B. Hardin, '68. 

14th Virginia, . 

38th Virginia, Col. Edward C. Edmonds, '58, commanding. 
53d Virginia, Lieut.-Col. Edgar B. Montague, '55, commanding. 
57th Virginia, Col. John B. Magruder, '61, commanding. 

Kemper's Brigade. 

Col. Joseph Mayo, '52, commanding (after 
General Kemper was wounded). 
1st Virginia, Col. Lewis B. Williams, '55, commanding. 

Major George F. Norton, '60. 
3d Virginia, Col. Joseph Mayo, '62, commanding. 

Lieut.-Col. Alexander D. Callcote, '51. 
Major William H. Pryor, '48. 
7th Virginia, Col. Waller Tazewell Patton, '56, commanding. 
Lieut.-Col. C. C. Flowerree, '61. 
11th Virginia, Major Kirkwood Otey, '49, commanding. 
24th Virginia, Col. William R. Terry, '60, commanding. 
Major Joseph A. Hambrick, '67. 
Capt. J. R. Hammett, '61. 

It will be observed that every one of the fifteen regi- 
ments of Pickett's famous divisions, except two, the 9th 
and 14th Virginia, was commanded by a graduate of 
the Institute; besides Kemper's Brigade, after the 
wounding of Brigadier-General James L. Kemper. 
Colonel Eppa Hunton, 8th Virginia, who was not a 
graduate, was wounded early in the charge. 

Furthermore, it is to be noted that of the large number 
of field-officers who were struck down eighteen were 
graduates, namely, — 

Carrington, Gantt, Mayo, Otey, Terry, Phillips, 
Hambrick,** Norton, and Slaughter (never fully re- 
covered), wounded; and Ellis, Allen, Stuart, Edmonds, 
Magruder, Williams, Callcote, Patton, and Wilson, 
killed ; and thirteen commanded regiments in the bloody 

In the fifteen regiments of Pickett's Division, there 
were twenty-seven field-officers among the graduates, 

♦Promoted Colonel of 9th, vice Owens killed at Gettysburg. 
•♦Later killed at Drewry's Bluff. 

246 The Military History of 

and many captains and lieutenants commanding battal- 
ions and companies whose names are not given; besides 
the following named staff officers, to wit: Major 
Walter H. Harrison, Assistant Adjutant-General, 
Pickett's Division; Captain William T. Fry, Assistant 
Adjutant-General, Kemper's Brigade; and Captain 
Wilham L. Randolph, Ordnance Officer, Armistead's 

In Wilcox's, Mahone's, Wright's, Posey's, and 
Perry's Brigades of Anderson's Division, and Petti- 
grew's, Brockenbrough's, Archer's, and Davis's Bri- 
gades of Heth's Division (all of which were partially 
engaged in the great assault), were also many gradu- 
ates, among whom may be mentioned Brigadier-Gen- 
eral William Mahone; Lieutenant- Colonel George E. 
Tayloe, 10th Alabama; Lieutenant-Colonel James A. 
Broome, 14th Alabama; Major Robert B, Taylor, and 
Lieutenant-Colonel Henry W. Williamson, 6th Vir- 
ginia; Colonel Joseph H. Ham, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Henry T. Parrish, and Major Richard O. Whitehead, 
16th Virginia; Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph P. Minetree, 
and Major Francis W. Smith, 41st, Virginia; Colonel 
James K. Marshall, commanding 1st Brigade, Heth's 
Division, Colonel Henry K. Burgwyn, Jr., 26th N. C. ; 
Colonel J. M. Brockenbrough commanding 2d Brigade 
Heth's Division, Colonel Robert M. Mayo, Lieutenant- 
Colonel William J. Green, Major Edward P. Tayloe, 
and Major Charles J. Green, 47th Virginia; Colonel 
George S. Patton, and Major Isaac W. Smith, 22d 
Virginia; and Major J. Q. A. Richardson, 52d North 

In the battle of Gettysburg, the following graduates, 
or ex-cadets, are known to have sealed their devotion 
with their lives : 

Colonels Robert C. Allen, Henry K. Burgwyn, Jr., 
William D. Stuart, E. C. Edmonds, John B. Magruder, 
Lewis B. Williams, Waller Tazewell Patton, James K. 
Marshall; Lieutenant-Colonels John T. EUis and Alex- 
ander D. Callcote; Majors N. Claiborne Wilson and 

The Virginia Military Institute 247 

J. Q. A. Richardson; Captain Richard C. Logan; Lieu- 
tenants W. H. Bray, John C. Niemeyer, and Ed- 
ward A. Rhodes, and Sergeant Thomas B. Tredway. 

Colonel Patton was not killed outright, although his 
wound proved to be a mortal one. Shot in the mouth 
he was carried to the College Hospital, at Gettysburg, 
where he expired on the 21st of July. During his last 
days, he could not speak, but wrote with a firm hand 
upon a slate, "My trust is in the merits of Jesus Christ; 
my all is intrusted to Him." The prominent thoughts 
in his mind were his mother, his Saviour, and his 
Country. To his mother this gallant officer, but twenty- 
nine years of age and a member of the Virginia Senate, 
wrote, a few days before his death, "My sufferings and 
hardships during the two weeks that I was kept out in 
the field hospital were very great. I assure you that it 
was the greatest consolation, while lying in pain on the 
cold, damp ground, to look up to that God to whom you 
so constantly directed my thoughts in infancy and boy- 
hood, and feel that I was His son by adoption. When 
friends are far away, and you are in sickness and sor- 
row, how delightful to be able to contemplate the 
wonderful salvation imfolded in the Bible! Whilst 
I have been very far from being a consistent Christian, 
I have never let go my hope in Jesus, and find it inex- 
pressibly dear now. I write these things to show you 
my spiritual condition, and to ask your prayers con- 
tinually for me." Again he said, "Tell my mother that 
I am about to die in a foreign land; but cherish the 
same intense affection for her as ever." He told the 
young lady who nursed him, that though he was "a 
young man, and cherished life," he would "cheerfully 
lay down fifty hves in such a cause if necessary." 

One other act of heroism should be mentioned-^the 
act of an humble heutenant, John C. Niemeyer of the 
Class of '61. While moving forward, his regiment, the 
9th Virginia, was halted three times and dressed under 
a galling fire. After the last halt, it moved forward 
in a superb line. The young lieutenant, at the head 

248 The Military History of 

of his company, turned and called down the line to a 
brother officer, and former classmate at the Institute, 
"John, what a beautiful line!" As he spoke, a bullet 
pierced his brain, and he fell with a smile upon his hps, 
no doubt happy in the perfect drill of his men. The 
body of the gallant lad was never recovered and lies 
buried at Gettysburg in some unknown grave. 

Such incidents as this illustrate the character of the 
subalterns who led the troops in Pickett's charge — ^those 
humble leaders who reach the flaming breastworks 
first, but see the laurel crowns on other heads. 

While Colonel Joseph White Latimer took no part 
in the most dramatic incident of Gettysburg, to write 
of that battle in such a work as this without referring to 
his name would be improper, for no more brilliant name 
illimiines the military annals of the Institute. 

Born in August, 1843, he entered the Institute in 
1859, and was a Third Classman when the Corps was 
ordered to Camp Lee in 1861. He was at this time as- 
signed as drill-master to the "Hampden Battery," com- 
manded by Captain Laurence S. Marye. In September 
he was assigned as a lieutenant to the Richmond 
"Courtney Battery," and his first active service was in 
pursuit of the Federals after Second Manassas, when 
he with his own boyish hands, but with the intrepidity 
of the most seasoned veteran, plied a gim throughout 
the day. That night, as he snuggled to his captain 
tmder a single blanket, he said: "Well, Captain, I feel 
so thankful that I have passed through this fight as well 
as I have." Thinking he meant that he was glad he had 
not been hurt, the older officer said that he too was 
thankful. "Oh, no; I don't mean that; I rather wish 
I had received a small wound, so I might see how I 
would bear it. What I meant is this: I was so glad 
I was able to stay at my post, and do my duty during 
the fight, and not rim away. I have always wondered 
how I would feel in a fight, and, sometimes, have felt a 
little afraid that I would not be able to control my- 
self, perhaps, and might do something that would dis- 

The Virginia Military Institute 249 

grace me. But I have tried it now, and find that I can 
stand, and have no uneasiness for the future." Such, 
was the youthful soldier's reply, — words which evi- 
denced that sublime moral courage which was to make 
him famous on many battlefields. 

In the spring of 1862, the men of the battery elected 
yoimg Latimer first lieutenant. Brevetted for gallantry 
in action at Cross Keys, he was regularly commissioned 
captain after the Seven Days' fighting, and major in 
April, 1863, at the age of nineteen. 

General Jackson, his old artillery instructor, had 
mentioned him in orders for his gallantry in the Valley 
Campaign ; and General Ewell, who greatly loved him, 
spoke of the "Boy-Major" as his "little Napoleon." 

In the Gettysburg Campaign, he commanded 
Andrews's Battahon, Ewell's Corps. On the 2d of 
July, that battalion occupied an exposed position on the 
extreme Confederate left, opposite Culp's Hill and the 
heavy Federal batteries posted on Cemetery Hill. His 
command was literally torn to pieces in the imequal 
duel in which it imflinchingly engaged; but ordering 
the injured guns to the rear, Major Latimer remained 
with the others. His ofllicers implored him to dismount 
and seek cover; but this he refused to do, as he wished 
to be prepared to dash forward with his remaining guns, 
at the first opporttmity. While gallantly cheering on 
his cannoneers at their desperate work, he fell from his 
horse with his right arm shattered by a fragment of 
shell. As he was drawn from beneath his mount, and 
carried from the field, he held up the stump of his 
mangled arm, and in a clear and steady voice exhorted 
his men to fight harder than ever, to avenge his loss. 

After the amputation, which was immediately per- 
formed, he was taken to Winchester, and from there, 
on the 22d of July, to Harrisonburg. He lingered 
until August 1st, "when, just as the morning sun was 
shedding its light o'er earth and sky, his spirit passed 

250 The Military History of 

Just before his death, he declared that he was not 
afraid to die, "for," said he, "my trust is in God." The 
day before this, he was asked by the chaplain upon what 
be based his hopes for the future. "Not on good works," 
he replied, "but on the merits of Jesus Christ alone." 

So passed away as noble a spirit as ever dwelt in 
human frame, a spirit worthy of that of Jackson. It is 
consoling to beheve that in Heaven the "Boy-Major" 
has received his reward, resting side by side with his im- 
mortal tutor-in-arms. His hfe on earth was hfe but 
just begun; for, surely, there is no death for one so pure, 
so gallant and so young. 

The artillery appealed with special force to the 
graduates of the Institute. In that branch of the serv- 
ice, the Institute produced Brigadier- General R. 
Lindsay Walker, Colonel Stapleton Crutchfield, 
Colonel Thomas H. Carter, Colonel John R. Waddy, 
Lieutenant-Colonel Francis W. Smith, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Wilfred E. Cutshaw, Colonel Briscoe G. 
Baldwin, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Jaquehn Smith, Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Robert Preston Chew, Major A. R. H. 
Ranson, Major Daniel Trueheart, Major James W. 
Thomson, Major P. B. Stanard, Major Marcellus N. 
Moorman, Major D. W. Flowerree, Major J. McD. 
Carrington, and other field officers of note, most of 
whom were senior in rank to Major Latimer, but none of 
whom could boast a more gallant career than that of 
the "Boy-Major," who was, perhaps, the youngest 
artillery field-officer in either army. 

On the brow of Cemetery Hill there stands to-day a 
monument designed to mark for posterity the high-tide 
level of the Confederacy. Swelling upward until it 
flooded over the hostile boundary, the great Southern 
tide surged forward until it reached that height, and 
then, subsiding, bore back with the wash of the waters 
the flotsam of an army wrecked on the reef of fate. 
And, as they look upon that fateful reef, stained with 
the blood of Pickett's men, where now a hundred tombs 
remain like the jetsam of the wreck, let V. M. I. men 

The Virginia Militahy Institute 251 

draw inspiration from the scene, and recall that it was 
not Pickett, not Armistead, not Garnett, not Kemper, of 
West Point, alone, who, with its full set sails, drove the 
Confederate ship upon that shore; but Allen, Stuart, 
Burgwyn, Edmonds, Magruder, Wilhams, Patton, 
Ellis, Marshall, Callcote, Wilson, Richardson, and the 
others who perished in the storm, and a host of their 
Institute comrades among the other field-officers of that 
gallant army. Armistead and Garnett were of heroic 
mold; but history can not forget they were but two of 
many. Nor can it be successfully denied that Pickett's 
charge was actually led by graduates of the V. M. I.; 
for the soldier knows that it is the colonels and the 
majors and the captains, who carry their men through 
the confusion of the cannon-swept field, however, in- 
spiring the presence of the general may be before the 
charge is launched. 

With such facts before us as those given, may we 
ask, is it conceit for the Institute to read between the 
lines which the historians of Gettysburg have written, 
the real story of Pickett's charge? And may we not 
point out to future historians that the volunteer troops 
which reached the summit of Cemetery Hill, July 3, 
1863, were commanded by ofiicers trained in a School of 
Arms ; second in the quality of its graduates to no other 
in existence? 

Another great fact is to be noted from the part of the 
V. M. I. graduates in the battle of Gettysburg, and 
that is, they were not dependent on Jackson for mihtary 
opportunity. After Jackson's death, the army was re- 
organized into three Corps, commanded by Longstreet, 
Ewell, and A. P. Hill, respectively; yet, in Pickett's 
Division — the very flower of the army, — the first divi- 
sion of the first corps, practically every regiment was 
commanded by a graduate of the Institute ! 

252 The Military History of 




After the terrible tragedy of Gettysburg, the Con- 
federate Government relied more than ever before upon 
the Institute to supply trained officers for the lower 
grades in which the greatest need of efficient officers was 
felt. As the war wore on, the brigades and divisions 
were, perhaps, better commanded than in the early 
stages. Political appointees were gradually eliminated, 
and the trained soldiers succeeded them in high com- 
mand. But hundreds of superb officers, hke those who 
fell at Gettysburg, and who had comprised the field 
and staff of the Une regiments, were unreplaceable. 

When the war broke out, the Institute had actually 
graduated, up to July, 1860, but 412 cadets. In the 
South, in 1861, there were, perhaps, 1,000 men who had 
attended the Institute one or more years, including the 
142 cadets graduated in July and December of that 
year, less those who had died. The field-officers in 
Virginia were, in large measure, originally drawn from 
those who had graduated prior to 1856, all of whom 
were men from twenty-five to forty years of age. Com- 
paratively few of these men became general officers, at 
the beginning, because there were not over 100 
graduates, capable of bearing arms, past thirty years 
old. Up to July, 1849, there had been but 137 
graduates. Some of this nimiber were beyond military 
age, and others had died. The growth of the School 
in 1850-1860 led to the graduation, in the second decade 
of its existence, of 275 cadets, or just double the number 
in the preceding ten years. Therefore, it is fair to con- 
clude, taking the average age at graduation as twenty- 
one years, that at least two-thirds of the 412 graduates 

The Virginia Military Institute 253 

to July, 1860, were not over thirty years of age; and 
such was correspondingly true in the case of the non- 

With 282 graduates of West Point, and innumerable 
militia officers already in the service of the various 
States, and himdreds of pohticians clamoring for pre- 
ferment, it is readily understood why there were com- 
paratively so few general officers among the graduates 
of the Institute up to 1861. Throughout the war, there 
were but twenty actually commissioned, in the C. S, A., 
and the reason is very clear. Before the original ap- 
pointees were killed off, or otherwise eliminated, 200 or 
more graduates, including over 50 of the original field- 
officers, who would in the natural course of events have 
received high promotion, had been killed in battle, leav- 
ing out about 200 graduates past the age of twenty-five, 
and about fifty past the age of thirty years. Had the 
war continued several years longer than it did, large 
numbers of the youthful field-officers in 1864 would 
have become general officers, because the supply of 
West Pointers had been entirely cut off- since 1861, and 
those who had fallen were being rapidly replaced by 
Institute men when the war closed. 

After Gettysburg, the main pressure was exerted by 
the Federals in eastern Virginia, for Lincoln, faiUng 
to perceive that the main hostile army was his true ob- 
jective, persisted in his effort to seize the capital of his 
enemy. It was necessary, therefore, since the Federals 
would not follow up Lee, for Lee to constantly inter- 
pose his army between them and Richmond. But, 
meanwhile, Federal troops were kept in West Virginia, 
threatening at all times to press in upon the Confederate 

It is fortunate for the South (or unfortunate, if we 
choose now to consider a speedier termination of the 
war to have been desirable), that Grant, the Charles 
Martel of the North, was not placed in command of the 
Army of the Potomac immediately after Gettysburg, 
instead of in February, 1864; for, had he then com- 

254 The Military History or 

menced to grapple with Lee, while the active Sheridan 
operated in the valley, it seems almost certain the long- 
drawn-out war would have ended, one way or the other, 
before April, 1865. Had Lee defeated Grant in 1863, 
or early in 1864, the peace party of the North would 
probably have triumphed. Had Grant commenced his 
operations a year earlier, even attaining the same re- 
sults he did in 1864, the surrender would have occurred 
at an earlier date. 

Averell, however, was not Sheridan ; nor was the force 
placed at his disposal adequate to accomplish decisive 
results. He was more of an annoyance than a real 
enemy. But Lincoln and Halleck kept him galloping 
back and forth, frittering away good men and horses 
in fruitless expeditions, instead of pursuing, with aU the 
strength they could muster, a comprehensive plan to 
crush the Confederate forces in Virginia. 

By the middle of October, General Averell had as- 
sembled 5,000 men at Huttonsville, West Virginia, 
from which point he again threatened the upper Valley. 
. So obvious were his intentions to set out on another raid, 
that on October 17th, Colonel Nadenbousch, still in 
command at Staunton, notified General Imboden, com- 
manding the Valley District, of the danger. Imboden 
was at the time moving on Charles Town, which he sur- 
prised and recaptured the next day, but with the in- 
tention of moving up the valley himself as soon as 
possible to cooperate with General Samuel Jones, of 
the Western District, in driving back Averell. 

Averell's threatened raid into Virginia was post- 
poned, for one reason or another, until, under date of 
October 26th, he received specific orders to proceed to 
Lewisburg, in Greenbrier Coimty, West Virginia, and 
to attack and capture, or drive away, the Confederate 
force there assembled under Colonel William L. Jack- 
son.* After accomphshing this task, he was directed 
to leave his infantry at Lewisburg and push on to 
Union, in Monroe Coimty, and thence to New River, 

•"Mudwall" Jackson, a cousin of Stonewall Jackson. The sobriquet here 
given him simply to avoid confusion. He was a gallant and enterprising oflHcer. 

The Virginia Military Institute 255 

where he was to destroy the bridge of the Virginia and 
Tennessee Railroad. 

Pvu-suant to these orders, Averell left Beverly No- 
vember 1st, with two regiments of infantry, three regi- 
ments of mounted infantry, one regiment of cavalry, 
and four batteries of artillery. 

Moving along the Staunton pike to Greenbrier 
Bridge, AvereU's command reached Hvmtersville, in 
Pocahontas County (a point about 25 miles west of 
Warm Springs, Virginia) at noon, on the 4th, where, 
learning that a force of about 600 Confederates, under 
Colonel Thompson, were at Marling's Bottom, he im- 
mediately took steps to cut it off from Lewisburg. 
Colonel Thompson, however, retired toward Mill Point, 
and effected a junction with the other troops of Jack- 
son's command, which retired rapidly to the summit 
of Droop Mountain where, about 4,000 strong, it took 
up a strong defensive position across the main road to 
Lewisburg, 20 miles distant. 

On the evening of the 4th, General Imboden was in- 
formed of Averell's movement through HuntersviUe, 
and, at daybreak on the 5th, left his camp near Bridge- 
water, and moved to Buffalo Gap. 

During the late afternoon of the 5th of November, 
rumors sifted into Lexington by the invisible wire that 
Averell with 7,000 men was between Jackson's force 
and Warm Springs, and about 7 p. M. a courier arrived 
from Colonel Jackson requesting that the Corps of 
Cadets and Home Guards be sent at once to his support. 

Immediately, Colonel Massie simimoned the Home 
Guard companies of the county, in the organization of 
which he had exhibited the utmost zeal and efficiency, 
to assemble ; and the following order was issued by the 
Superintendent of the Institute : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"November 5, 1868. 

"Special Orders — No. 212. 

"I. Intelligence having been received that the enemy in strong 
force are again threatening this County, the Superintendent deems 

256 The Military History of 

it his duty, under the orders of the Governorj to make use of every 
available man of this Institution as an auxiliary force to repel this 
invasion, and to place them in position without delay, at or near 
California Furnace. 

"II. The Commandant of Cadets, Lt.-Col. Shipp, will imme- 
diately make details of detachments of cadets to man two or four 
pieces of artillery, as he may deem expedient, and organize com- 
panies of cadets as an infantry support, and he will take command 
in person, and march without delay to California Furnace, and 
place himself in communication with the officer commanding the 
Confederate forces in that vicinity, and give such support to him 
as may be required by existing exigencies, and to the extent em- 
braced in the general instructions from the Governor of Virginia, 
as communicated to the command. He will make a detail of officers 
and cadets as a Guard to the Institute. 

"III. The Commissary will supply cooked rations for two 
days for the command, and additional uncooked rations for five 
days. He will report to Lt.-Col. Shipp for orders. 

"IV. The Quartermaster of the Confederate States will supply 
transportation and horses by order of the Commandant of the Post 
of Lexington. 

"V. The Surgeon will make all necessary provision for the 
care of the sick and disabled. 

"VI. The solemn responsibility which withdraws the Corps of 
Cadets from their regular duties is an appeal to that patriotism 
which burns in every Southern heart. The Superintendent con- 
fidently relies upon the courage and fidelity of this command, in 
all the duty to which they may be called. He shares their dangers 
and their hardships with them, and he trusts they may soon be 
privileged to return to their post of duty. 

"By command of Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

The entire night following the publication of this 
order was spent preparing for the march, and at day- 
break the Corps of Cadets, four companies, with the 
rifled section of artillery, 225 strong, the whole com- 
manded by the Commandant, and the artillery by Lieu- 
tenant T. H. Smith, set out for California Furnace, 
followed by Colonel Massie with about 575 men of the 
Home Guard. 

The command reached the furnace (which is about 
three miles south of Rockbridge Alum Springs), dur- 


I'KOFKSSon. iNSTIlff'TOI! OF AltTII.r.EUV TACTICS 1.S5I1-1 Sli;'. 

The Virginia Military Institute 257 

ing the late afternoon, after a march of seventeen miles, 
and went into bivouac for the night. Meanwhile, efforts 
were being made to get uito commtmication with the 
Confederate forces; but for the time being Cahfornia 
Furnace was safe. 

That morning, with about 600 men and a section of 
artillery. General Imboden moved through Goshen 
and halted for the night at Bratton's in Bath County, 
some ten miles north of California Furnace. 

During the morning, Averell had attacked Jackson's 
force, and at 3 p. m. succeeded in driving it from its 
position on Droop Moimtain, in Greenbrier County, 
West Virginia, about thirty miles west of Bratton's and 
Cahfornia Furnace. 

Imboden resumed his march at dawn on the 7th, and, 
moving westward along the Himtersville road, passed 
through Warm Springs at 1 p. m., where he was in- 
formed of the battle between Jackson and Averell, the 
preceding day. Learning also that the Confederates 
(badly defeated) had fallen back through Lewisburg 
towards Monroe, and that Averell, who had been re- 
enforced by General Duffie at Lewisburg with four 
regiments and some artillery, was pursuing, he re- 
solved to fall upon the Federal rear. With that object 
in view, he now changed his course down Jackson's 
River toward Covington, after sending orders to 
Colonels Shipp and Massie (whom he beheved to be 
at Millboro), to march at once to Chfton Forge, and 
there imite with him. 

Leaving their camp about noon on the 7th, the Corps 
and Home Guard marched along the direct road from 
Cahfornia Furnace to Clifton Forge, which follows the 
vaUey running due southwest along the border of Alle- 
ghany and Rockbridge counties. That night those 
commands, after paralleling Imboden's route some 
miles to the west, bivouacked half a mile north of the 
Lucy Salina (now called the Longdale) Furnace, hav- 
ing marched about ten miles. The next day, Sunday, 
the 8th, they marched nine miles to Clifton Forge, go- 


258 The Military History of 

ing into Camp on the banks of Jackson's River, thirteen 
miles distant from Imboden who had reached the neigh- 
borhood of Covington. After midnight, Imboden 
dispatched orders to Colonel Massie and General Smith 
(the latter, with Colonel Preston, having joined the 
cadets at CUfton Forge) , to move forward to Covington 
at daybreak. 

That morning, Averell, had set out for Dublin, but 
was compelled to order DufRe's command back to 
Meadow Bluff, because of its complete exhaustion, and 
to dispatch two regiments of infantry and a battery 
back to Beverly with his wounded, prisoners, and 
captured property. With his moimted men and a 
battery, he then pressed on through White Sulphur 
Springs to the neighborhood of Callaghan's where, on 
the morning of the 9th, he was informed that Imboden 
with a force of from 900 to 1,500 men was at Covington, 
on his way to reinforce Echol's at Union, and that large 
reinforcements from Lee's Army were near at hand. 
He, therefore, dispatched two squadrons of the 8th 
West Virginia Mounted Infantry, under Major Slack, 
to drive Imboden from his line of march. 

Imboden, with his own command, had taken up a 
position on the crest of a mountain one and a half miles 
west of Covington; and when the two Federal 
squadrons (about 400 strong) had driven in his pickets 
and approached to within 1,200 yards of his position, he 
opened on them with his two guns, and then sent for- 
ward two troops of cavalry to strike the enemy while 
scattered. The Federals retreated rapidly to Callag- 
han's where they rejoined the main column, over 3,000 
strong, and moved off with it. 

As soon as Imboden learned that Averell had with 
him a battery of seven pieces of artillery, and believing 
that he would attack in earnest, he withdrew to a very 
strong position on a hill one mile east of Covington, 
after sending orders to Colonels Shipp and Massie to 
hurry up to the new position where he intended to give 

The Virginia Military Institute 259 

Leaving their bivouacs at daybreak on the 9th, the 
Corps of Cadets and the Home Guard joined Imboden 
in his new position soon after he had occupied it, and 
were deployed in line of battle. Colonel Shipp care- 
fully placed the guns in position ; but, in spite of much 
random firing in their front, neither the cadets, nor any 
part of Imboden's force, were engaged. 

How anxiously the young soldiers peered over the 
fence rails piled up into a rude protection; how they 
longed for just one chance to fire upon the enemy, — 
only those present will ever know; but again they were 
doomed to be disappointed, for soon the Cavalry 
pickets reported that Averell had left the Warm 
Springs road, and moved off toward Huntersville. 

Believing that this might be a ruse on the enemy's 
part, and that he might swing around Warm Springs 
to Millboro, and thence to Lexington, Imboden, with 
his own command, set out from Chfton Forge to 
Goshen, sending out scouts to watch Averell's move- 
ments, and dismissing the Lexington forces about noon 
on the 9th. 

At Goshen, which point he reached after a march of 
40 miles in little over 24 hours, Imboden learned from 
his scouts that Averell had moved rapidly northward by 
Gatewood's, along the Back Creek Road, with a part 
of his force, the main body proceeding via Hightown, 
and a single regiment via Monterey. All danger was, 
therefore, apparently over; but on the 11th he moved 
to Buffalo Gap. Upon arriving there he ascertained 
that a fresh force of 800 men from Petersburg would 
form a jxmction that evening with Averell at Monterey, 
or Hightown ; but, instead of moving toward Staimton, 
Averell ordered Colonel Thorbum's reinforcements 
back to Petersburg, and proceeded himself to New 
Creek, where he arrived on the 17th.* 

Although Imboden inflicted no appreciable damage 
on the enemy, his prompt movements, after learning 
of Jackson's and Echols's defeat, undoubtedly saved the 

•Rebellion Eeeords, Series I, Vol. XXIX, pp. 498-549. 

260 The Military History of 

six or eight blast furnaces in the western parts of Rock- 
bridge and Botetourt counties from destruction, 
plants which at the time were of incalculable value to 
the Confederate Bureau of Ordnance. Without the 
support of the Corps of Cadets and the Home Guard, 
he would never have attempted the movements he 
actually undertook, for it was his knowledge of their 
presence that enabled him to make the threat on 
Averell's rear, the morning of the 9th, causing him to 
withdraw, for fear of the large force on his line of re- 

Averell had been informed that heavy reinforcements 
were being dispatched by General Lee to Imboden, and 
seems to have been misled into believing that the cadets 
and Home Guard were the advance of such reinforce- 
ments. Thus, they not only emboldened Imboden to 
show fight across Averell's path, but served a better 
purpose in causing the latter to retreat precipitately. 

The Corps of Cadets and Home Guard reached Lex- 
ington, via direct road, late on the 11th, and, says Mrs. 
Preston in her diary, "Everybody expected a fight, and 
I think there was general disappointment that there was 
only a skirmish. For the present, the forces (cadets 
and Home Guard) have returned, and gone to their 
homes; with the expectation, however, that any time 
they may be recalled."* 

The 11th of November, the day upon which the Corps 
of Cadets returned, was the 24th anniversary of the 
founding of the Institute. How well had been fulfilled 
the expectations of those devoted men who assembled 
in Lexington to cast Virginia's flag to the breeze over 
the infant School of Arms, November 11, 1839! Within 
a quarter of a century, the very anniversary of 
Founder's Day was to see the Corps of Cadets actually 
in the field defending the Arsenal, which it had been 
created to guard. 

•Life and Letters of Margaret Junkin Preston, by Elizabeth Preston Allan, 

?i. 171. This book contains many interesting and contemporaneous letters 
rom which many facts concerning the cadets have been ascertained. 

The Virginia Military Institute 261 

General Smith had preceded the Corps to Lexington, 
and, before it arrived, published the following order: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"November 11, 1863. 

"General Orders — No. 88. 

"I. This day is the anniversary of the Virginia Military 
Institute. Twenty-four years have rolled away since the proud 
Flag of Virginia was first waved over the Corps of Cadets. What 
an eventful period do these years embrace ! This anniversary, 
unlike those which have preceded it, finds the cadets in the field, 
enduring the hardships of an arduous march, in aid of efforts to 
repel an unscrupulous and relentless foe. This duty has been 
patiently and cheerfully discharged in the midst of privations and 
discomforts which a veteran might even shrink from, and a spirit 
has been exhibited by the Corps of Cadets which reflects the 
highest honor upon themselves, and upon the accomplished officer 
who has the high responsibility of their "command (Lieut.-Colonel 
Scott Shipp). The Superintendent returns his thanks to the 
officers and cadets for the prompt and faithful discharge of duty 
in the expedition, and it will be his pleasure, as well as duty, to 
communicate a report of their conduct to his Excellency, the 

"II. The Anniversary Celebration designed for the day will, 
be observed to-morrow, and a salute of ten guns will be fired at 
6:30 A. M., under the direction of the Commandant of Cadets. 

"By command of Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

November 12th was a day of rest, but the experiences 
of the past few days had shown the Commandant the 
necessity of famiharizing the Corps with the new arms. 
Accordingly, academic duty was suspended on the 13th, 
and the day was devoted to the needed instruction. 

On the 21st, the following order was received and 
published at the Institute: 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"SiMWiLLis Creek, Rockingham Co., Va., 

"November 18, 1863. 

"General Orders — No. 12. 

"The General commanding the Military District takes great 
pleasure in announcing that in his recent expedition with a detach- 

262 The Military History or 

ment of his command to Covington, in Alleghany County, to resist 
the large raiding forces of the enemy, should they attempt to 
penetrate the Valley, or reach important public works in that 
section of the State, he was most opportunely and efficiently sup- 
ported by the Corps of Cadets from the Virginia Military Institute, 
under the command of the accomplished Superintendent, Major- 
General Francis H. Smith, and the 'Rockbridge Home Guard,' 
under the command of that gallant and tried soldier. Colonel 
James W. Massie. Information of the movements of the enemy 
through Pocahontas was not received in Lexington until 7 p. m. on 
the 6th inst., when with a promptitude that reflects the highest 
honor on the Institute and the noble people of Rockbridge, the 
whole night was spent in preparing for the field, and by the follow- 
ing evening 800 patriotic men and youths, under the leadership of 
brave and skillful officers, were many miles on their dreary march 
into the mountains to meet the advancing columns of the enemy. 
Owing to the rapidity of our own movements, the uncertainty of 
the enemy's object, and the difficulty of frequent communication 
between us. General Smith and Colonel Massie had to rely mainly 
upon their own judgment in selecting their line of march, so as to 
gain the point of probable attack, which they accomplished with 
the most perfect success, and with a celerity not surpassed during 
the war, even by the veterans of the Confederacy. They were in 
ample time to have taken part in the general engagement which 
seemed imminent at Covington on Monday the 9th inst. 

"It is a most pleasing duty to acknowledge gratefully the 
spontaneous volunteer movement from the glorious old County of 
Rockbridge, and from that Institution in her midst which has 
contributed so largely to the national defense, in the number of 
accomplished officers in our Army educated within its walls. 

"All honor to the brave men and chivalrous youths who so 
gallantly came to our assistance ! If every County in this Military 
District will emulate the example here set them, the Commanding 
General will never have occasion to call on General Lee for aid to 
repel any probable invasion of the interior of this beautiful valley, 
that may hereafter be attempted by the marauding bands that hang 
upon its borders. Here, at home, we shall have, ever ready, a 
bulwark of defense in those, who, like the 800 of Rockbridge and 
the Institute, will fly to the rendezvous at the first sound of the 
toesin, or blaze of the signal on the summit of their own blue 

"By command of J. D. Imboden, Brigadier-General commanding, 

"F. B. Berkeley, 

"Captain and A. A. -General." 

The Vikginia Militaby Institute 263 

In his official report of these operations, General 
Imboden says: 

"I beg leave to add my testimony to the admirable spirit dis- 
played by the people of Rockbridge in coming to my assistance. 
At 7 p. M. on Thursday^ the 6th (Sth), the news reached Lexington 
of this raid. By 7 p. m., the next day, 800 men were twelve miles 
on their march to support me. My thanks are especially due 
Colonel J. W. Massie, Commanding Home Guards, and General 
F. H. Smith, Commanding Cadets, for the energy and zeal they 
manifested and the skill with which they moved their commands so 
rapidly through the mountains." 

264 The Military History of 



The results accomplished by Averell in November, 
1863, evidently did not fulfill the expectations of Wash- 
ington; for he had hardly reached his base at New 
Creek, West Virginia, when he was informed that his 
command would be required to take the field again, at 
an early date. 

December 6th, Averell received instructions from the 
Department Commander to proceed on the 8th via 
Petersburg, Franklin, and Monterey to the Virginia 
and Tennessee Railroad at Bonsack's Station, in Bote- 
tourt County, or to Salem, in Roanoke County; or, by 
dividing his command, to both points, and to destroy 
all the bridges, water stations, depots, and as much of 
the roadbed and track in those locahties as possible. 
After accomphshing his task, he was directed to return 
to the line of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, between 
New Creek and Harper's Ferry.* 

Pursuant to these most definite instructions, Averell' s 
plan for their execution contemplated the presence of 
Brigadier-General Scammon with the Kanawha Valley 
forces at Lewisburg, on December 12th, for the purpose 
of intercepting any Confederate force moving upon the 
rear of the raiding column from the north. A small 
force was also to reach Marling's Bottom on the 11th, 
to feint against the Confederates in the neighborhood 
of Lewisburg. Brigadier-General Sulhvan, command- 
ing the forces in the Shenandoah Valley, was to assume 
active operations on the 11th, while Colonel Thorburn's 
command was to move forward from Monterey toward 
Staunton, with a view to keeping the enemy's attention 
fixed on the Parkersburg pike. 

•Rebellion Record, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part 1, p. 933. 

The Virginia Military Institute 265 

It was thought by Averell that the demonstrations 
of the Kanawha and Shenandoah commands would en- 
able him to pass southward without difficulty, and that 
the operations ordered in the direction of Lewisburg 
and Union, if conducted with vigor, would divert op- 
position to the return of his own wearied column. 

Leaving New Creek at dawn, December 8th, with 
three regiments of moxmted infantry, a regiment and a 
half of cavalry, and one battery of artillery, Averell 
reached Petersburg on the 10th where he was joined 
by Colonel Thorburn's command of 700 moxmted men. 
Arriving at Monterey on the 11th, Colonel Thorburn 
proceeded towards McDowell, and Averell's column 
resumed its march on the 12th down Back Creek. 

The storm continued unabated throughout the next 
four days, so that Averell found Jackson's River un- 
fordable, when he arrived at Callaghan's in Alleghany 
County, on the 14th. At that point he learned that 
Scammon had successfully occupied Lewisburg, and 
that the small Confederate brigade imder Echols had 
fallen back upon Union, imder orders from Major- 
General Samuel Jones. 

On the 12th, Jones, the Department Commander, had 
received information from Echols and Jackson that the 
enemy was moving from the Kanawha and Beverly on 
Lewisburg ; and, having directed Echols to fall back be- 
hind the Greenbrier River, he ordered McCausland who 
was at the Narrows with his brigade to imite with 
Echols, and telegraphed Colonel Jackson to proceed to 
Callaghan's. At the same time, he called upon General 
Lee for support. 

On the night of the 14th, Echols and McCausland 
formed a jimction near Union. 

Major-General Fitz Lee's Cavalry Division had by 
good fortime left the army on the Rapidan on the 11th, 
and arrived in Charlottesville on the 12th, with the in- 
tention of going into winter quarters there. On the 
12th, two brigades of this command, xmder Fitz Lee 
himself, were dispatched to the Valley to interpose be- 

266 The Military History of 

tween the enemy and Staunton, arriving at Mount 
Crawford, via Brown's Gap, the morning of the 15th. 
Finding Sullivan inactive at Strasburg, he turned up 
the Valley to assist Imboden, who was confronting the 
enemy at Shenandoah Mountain, six miles from 
Staunton. That night, Major-General Early arrived 
at Staunton, and assumed command. 

Late on the 14th, news had reached Lexington of 
Averell's movements, and again the Superintendent and 
Colonel Massie took prompt steps to aid in the defense 
of the County. 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"December 14, 1863. 
"Special Orders — No. 242. 

"I. Intelligence having been received that the enemy in strong 
force are again threatening this County, the Superintendent deems 
it his duty, under the orders of the Governor, to make use of every 
available man of this Institution, as an auxiliary force to repel this 
invasion, and to place them in position without delay, at or near 
Goshen, Virginia. 

"By command of Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

Leaving Lexington at dawn on the 15th, the Corps 
of Cadets, four companies, and the section of rifled field 
guns, 180 strong, Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, 
commanding, followed, as before, by Colonel Massie 
and the Home Guard, bivouacked that night about a 
mile and a half short of Rockbridge Baths. 

At 2 A. M. that morning Averell had resumed his 
march, arriving at Sweet Springs during the forenoon. 
There he learned that Scammon had retired from Lewis- 
burg and that Echols's Brigade was near Union. Re- 
suming his march at 1 p. m.^ he passed through New 
Castle during the night, after sending out a squadron 
towards Fincastle for the purpose of deceiving the 
enemy, and arrived within four miles of Salem at day- 
break of the 16th. There, he first learned of Fitz Lee's 

The Vikginia Military Institute 267 

movement from Charlottesville to intercept his retm-n 

December 16th the Corps of Cadets proceeded to 
Bratton's Run, which they foimd practically impassable, 
and camped on its banks with the Home Guard that 
night. Late that night. Early ordered Fitz Lee to pur- 
sue Averell with all haste, wlule Jones, who had learned 
of AvereU's presence at Salem, ordered Colonel Jackson 
to take up a good position near Chfton Forge, while 
Echols was directed to occupy one on the mountain near 
Sweet Springs, with a view to cutting Averell off. 

On the 17th, Colonel Massie, who was near Goshen 
with the Home Guard, received by courier the following 
communication :* 

"Buffalo Gap, 

"December 17, 1868. 

"Col. J. W. Massie, 

"Commanding Forces. 

"Col. — Major-General Early directs that you proceed to Lex- 
ington at once to protect that place. Send your mounted men 
rapidly. Gen. Imboden is moving on Lexington from this place, 
and you will communicate with him on the Brownsburg road. 
Major-General Fitz Lee is also moving from Staunton on 

"Averell has reached Salem on the Virginia and Tennessee Rail- 
road, and may move down the Valley. 

"Send some men posthaste to the bridge over Buffalo Creek 
beyond Lexington, with directions to scout towards Buchanan, and 
burn that bridge in case Averell approaches. 

"I am. Colonel, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"A. S. Pendleton, 

"Lt.-Col. and A. A.-G."** 

Marching day and night Fitz Lee's command reached 
Lexington before noon on the 18th, imiting at that 
point with Imboden and the Home Guard. Colonel 
Massie immediately dispatched a large patrol, under 
Lieutenant T. Henderson Smith of the Institute, in the 
direction of Buchanan, for the purpose of observing the 

•Rebellion Records, Series I. Vol. XXII, Part 1, p. 962. 
••From the original dispatch In Gen. Shlpp's possession. 

268 The Military Histoky of 

enemy's movements in that direction, and to destroy the 
Pattonsburg bridge over the James, and the one over 
Buffalo Creek, if necessary, to prevent Averell from 
reaching Lexington. 

"December 16th. Again the cadets and Home Guard 
are svimmoned out; they started yesterday; and Mr. P. 
[Major Preston] went early this morning. It is a cold, 
raw day and they will find marching and bivouacking 
in the open air very disagreeable. The reports are the 
enemy is advancing upon the Valley from four points. 
When will these alarms cease? I am in despair about 
the war." Such is the contemporaneous entry in the 
diary of Mrs. Preston, the wife of Major Preston of the 
Institute, a record which throws much light on these 
stirring times. And again : 

"December 18th: Went on the street to hear some 
news ; f oimd that a dispatch had been received ordering 
a body of men to go on to Pattonsburg to burn down 
the fine bridge over the James River, to prevent 
Averell's escape; Averell is at Salem with 4,000 men. 

"At 11 o'clock Imboden's cavalry and artillery passed 
through. It is the first time I have seen an army. Poor 
fellows! with their broken-down horses, muddy up to 
the eyes, and their muddy wallets and blankets, they 
looked hke an army of tatterdemalions: the horses 
looked starved. Then came the Home Guard, drenched 
and muddy as if they had seen hard service, though they 
had only been out four days; but such weather! it rained 
terribly, the rain part of the time freezing as it fell; 
and they were out in it all; stood roimd their fires all 
night, or lay down in the puddles of water. At 3 p. m., 
General Fitzhugh Lee's cavalry (2,700) passed 
through. Their horses were in better condition; all the 
men in both divisions looked in fine spirits, and cheered 
vociferously as the ladies waved scarfs and handker- 
chiefs on their passing. People brought out waiters of 

eatables to the poor tired men 

All went on to CoUierstown last night. Brother W.* 

•Rev. William F. Junkin, father of Mrs. Nichols, wife of the present 
Superintendent of the Institute. 

The Virginia Military Institute 269 

is Lieutenant-Colonel of the Home Guard. They were 
all sent in for the protection of Lexington last night, it 
being supposed Averell would advance upon us from 
Salem. An exciting day indeed. 

"At night, my husband came; the cadets were water- 
bound; some of them waded to their waists in water, 
building bridges for artillery. Mr. P. says he saw one 
marching along in his naked feet. This is a glorious 

On the 17th before Colonel Massie had been recalled, 
and intelligence of the enemy's whereabouts had been 
received, the Commandant determined to cross Bratton's 
Run which had foiled his passage the night before. By 
the most heroic efforts on the part of the cadets, the 
guns and baggage wagons were finally transferred, and 
the Corps of Cadets pressed on to Cold Sulphur 
Springs, where it bivouacked that night. 

Late on the 18th, the Commandant received the 
following communication from the Superintendent: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"December 18, 1863. 
"12 M. 
"Lt.-Col. S. Shipp, 

"Commandant of Cadets. 

"Col. — As you might have anticipated, the heavy rain and high 
■water delayed my joining you to-day. 

"Gen. Fitz Lee is now here, and under his instructions you are 
directed, as soon as you can cross Bratton's Run, to march with the 
cadets to this point, with the view of moving immediately to 
Buchanan. Gen. Lee marches to-day to Clifton Forge, and Coving- 
ton, and hopes to intercept the line of retreat of Averell. The 
object is to place the cadets at Buchanan with the line of scouts 
put out to watch the movement of the enemy, and in the event of 
his turning back from the road by which he entered towards Salem, 
under the apprehension of being intercepted, to anticipate his effort 
to come down the Valley, by crossing the James at Buchanan. 

"Further instructions will be given you on your reaching here. 
Inform me what supplies you will require, for it may be necessary 
to move to Buchanan without delay. 

"I am. Colonel, 

"Very respectfully, 

"F. H. Smith. 

270 The Military History of 

"Three brigades passed here to-day. General Wickham, General 
Imboden, and one other. J. W. Massie is just in. The bakery is 
being used to make bread for General Lee's command which it was 
important to move on with dispatch. I shall not be able to send 

"F. H. S."* 

Pursuant to this dispatch, the Commandant marched 
back to Wilson's Spring at the east end of Goshen 
Pass, and bivouacked there the night of the 18th. 

Averell had marched the last eighty miles in thirty 
hours; and, while his men busied themselves on the 16th 
destroying depots, railway cars, the water station, turn- 
table, and a large supply of bridge timber and repairing 
material at Salem, his horses were allowed to rest. 
After destroying a number of small storehouses, and 
cutting and destroying the telegraph wires, he quitted 
his work about 4 p. m., and having circulated the report 
that he would return, via Buchanan, he turned north 
along Craig's Creek, arriving at New Castle at dusk 
on the 18th, after tremendous exertions and many diffi- 
culties in fording the stream at the many points it 
crossed his route, especially with his battery. 

That night Fitz Lee camped at Colherstown, ten 
miles west of Lexington, en route with Imboden to 
Chfton Forge, and there received a dispatch from 
Lynchburg that the enemy was returning to Salem, 
and begging that he proceed to Buchanan. 

After midnight, the Superintendent wrote the Coin- 
mandant, then in camp at Wilson's Springs on the re- 
turn march, as follows : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 
"1 o'clock at night, 

"December 18-19. 

"Lt.-Col. S. Shipp, 

"Commandant of Cadets. 

"Col. — Intelligence has just reached us by my returned courier 
from Buchanan, that the enemy had been delayed in re-crossing the 
Craig River, by the freshets. This is confirmed by another courier 
from General Early. A courier from General Lee is also just in, 

•From the original In General Shlpp's possession. 

The Virginia Military Institute 271 

with dispatches to me that it is all important that the cadets be 
pressed on to Buchanan as rapidly as possible. You will determine 
whether this can best be done by a night march, or an early move- 
ment in the morning. I have had fifteen extra horses impressed to 
replace such as may be broken down, and have had meat and bread 
prepared — also all the shoes that can be had. General Lee was at 
Collierstown on his way to Covington. I have sent two couriers 
out to-night to convey the intelligence, just in from Buchanan, that 
our forces were disputing the crossing of the Craig with the enemy. 
I feel greatly gratified at the noble conduct of the cadets, and I 
desire that you will make this known to them, and that I have 
communicated your dispatch to the Adj.-Gen., that the Governor 
might know to what hardships they had been exposed, and how 
cheerfully they have borne them, and asked him to purchase at my 
cost 250 overcoats and pairs of shoes to be sent up by special 
messengers. Gen. Richardson has received my telegram and 
answered they will be sent up immediately. I will try to have 
every comfort ready for you when you arrive. 
"I am. Colonel, 

"Very respectfully, 

"F. H. Smith, 


Upon reaching New Castle, Averell was informed 
that Fitz Lee was at Fincastle, and that Jones was be- 
tween him and Sweet Springs. At 9 p. m.^ he moved 
out in the direction of Fincastle to deceive the enemy, 
and soon changed his course towards Sweet Springs. 
Before midnight, he was confronted with the possibiUty 
of having to fight his way to Sweet Springs. Two ways 
were now open to him to avoid a contest. He might 
move to the southwest, arovmd Jones's right, through 
Monroe and Greenbrier covmties ; the other, or the most 
direct, way, being via Covington over the Fincastle pike, 
which route he took. Marching thirty miles through the 
forest, he reached the Fincastle pike, fifteen miles from 
Covington, about noon on the 19th. Upon reaching a 
point eight miles from Covington, he was met by a force 
of 300 Confederates which he dispersed and followed up 
so closely they were vmable to destroy the bridges over 
the Jackson River, although every arrangement had 
been made to burn them. The Federals, therefore, 

•From the original in General Shipp's possession. 

272 The Military History of 

were able to cross the unf ordable stream by these bridges 
about 9 p. M.^ and the most carefully laid plans of Early, 
Jones, Imboden, Echols, McCausland, Fitz Lee, and 
Jackson to cut him off, were frustrated. 

Averell had hardly crossed the river when Jackson 
assailed his column which was over four miles long; but 
during the night his force was concentrated at Cal- 
laghan's, and the bridges were destroyed by the Federals 
to check pursuit. This left a single regiment on the 
enemy's side of the river, which, upon being attacked, 
was compelled to swim the stream. At this point, 
Averell managed to save his column, with the loss of 
but 124 officers and men captured and a few killed and 

Meanwhile, Fitz Lee had reached a point between 
Buchanan and Fincastle, beheving Averell to be near 
Salem. It was not until he arrived at Fincastle, on the 
20th, that he learned of Averell's crossing at Covington, 
the night before, whereupon, he immediately took up 
his pursuit. 

Marching early on the 19th, the Corps of Cadets 
reached Lexington during the afternoon, after an ab- 
sence of five days, and at once preparations were under- 
taken for an early start on the 20th for Buchanan. 
Starting out in that direction, news was soon received 
during the day of Averell's crossing at Covington, the 
night before, and the Commandant was directed by 
Fitz Lee to join Colonel Jackson's force, the exact 
whereabouts of which were vmknown to Colonel Shipp. 
Accordingly, he dispatched Lieutenant Prince to 
Clifton Forge, who vainly sought to locate Jackson, 
throughout the day. The Corps bivouacked that night 
at the furnace eight miles from Clifton Forge, and 
from the latter point. Prince succeeded in opening com- 
munications with Colonel Jackson.* 

"December 19th The cadets are to go 

to Buchanan to-morrow morning. The weather is 
bitterly cold, the roads very bad and hard frozen. 

•Kebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part 1, p. 966. 

The Virginia Military Institute 273 

"Sunday, December 20th. An order from Imboden 
for the cadets to march to Buchanan. They started 
this morning. Mr. P. [Major Preston] went at noon. 
A very cold day."* 

Averell marched on the night of the 19th, and the 
following day, by a road over the AUeghanies to 
Anthony's Creek between the White Sulphur Springs 
and Hxmtersville, and from that point to the Green- 
brier which he reached and crossed on the 21st, opposite 
Hillsborough, camping for the night at the northern 
base of Droop Mountain, and reached Beverly several 
days later, without opposition. 

Fitz Lee reached Covington on the 21st, and, after 
passing Callaghan's, learned that there was no other 
force in Averell's front, so turned off to Warm Springs, 
striking the Virginia Central Railroad at Goshen, "For 
thirty hours," wrote Averell in his report, "after my 
column left Callaghan's, the enemy made great efforts 
to intercept my force, but generally took wrong 

"December 21st: Averell has escaped! To-day 
Mr. P. [Major Preston] returned; also Eben; all are 
terribly chagrined at the escape of Averell. 

"December 24th: The Moncuresf came back at 
night, worn out with their bootless marching. They 
blame E. with the miscarriage of the expedition against 

But the Moncures were not the only ones who blamed 
General Early for the miscarriage of the plan to 
capture Averell. The disposition of the Confederates 
had been prompt and skillful. Rosser's brigade had 
crossed the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg on the 
14th, and, passing through Ashby's Gap, had succeeded 
in cutting off the column from Harper's Ferry, which 
Averell had expected to create a diversion in his favor. 
Early's division had left Hanover Junction on the 15th, 
arrived at Staunton that same night, marched to Buffalo 

♦Life and Letters of Margaret Junkin Preston, Allan, pp. 174-175. 
••Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part 1, p. 931. 
tJames Dunlap and Marshall Ambler, brothers, former cadets, and then mem- 
bers, of Fitz Lee's Caralry. 
JMrs. Preston's Diary. 

274 The Military Histoey of 

Gap the ensuing day, thence to Warm Springs and 
Miliboro. Fitz Lee's two brigades leaving Charlottes- 
ville on the 14th, reached Collierstown on the 18th, and 
Fincastle on the 20th, while Imboden had moved with 
great dispatch from near Staunton to the neighborhood 
of Lexington, and McCausland, Jackson, and Echols 
had been quickly thrown by Jones across Averell's 
homeward path. 

The whole plan seems to have miscarried, as a result 
of the false reports of Averell's presence on the 19th 
at Buchanan, which point his main column never ap- 
proached. The inexperienced Confederate scouts mis- 
took the detachment ordered to feint in that direction 
for the main body, and upon such imperfect imforma- 
tion Early was misled into ordering Fitz Lee from 
Collierstown to Buchanan on the night of the 18th, 
when Averell was actually on his way back from Salem, 
via New Castle and Covington, thus paralleling Fitz 
Lee's route in an opposite direction. 

In his official report, Fitz Lee wrote, "Had my march 
across North Mountain not been changed by dispatches 
received, and the conviction that if I interposed between 
the enemy and myself a stream represented as likely to 
be impassable for some days, I would leave the route by 
Buchanan open and expose Lexington, or enable him 
to retire on south of Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, 
or through Giles and Monroe counties, without moles- 
tation, I should have arrived at Covington three hours 
ahead of him; or had Colonel Jackson destroyed the 
bridge over Jackson's River, or interposed any ob- 
structions to his march, Averell's command must have 
been captured. 

"My especial thanks are due to General F. H. Smith, 
of the Virginia Military Institute, for the promptness 
with which he moved his command, and the eagerness 
he evinced for the capture of the enemy."* 

Late on the 21st the Corps of Cadets returned to 
Lexington, again much disappointed by the failure of 

"Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXIX, Part 1, p. 972. 

The Virginia Military Institute 275 

the expedition. The week the cadets had spent in the 
field was by long odds the most severe field service they 
had yet experienced. It had rained and sleeted almost 
continviously, and in the intermissions of the storm the 
weather had been intensely cold. The soft dirt roads 
were either ankle-deep in mud, or frozen hard, making 
marching most difficult; and on one occasion it had 
been necessary to cut the tent ropes and walls upon 
breaking camp, where they had frozen to the groimd. 
The cadets were inadequately provided with heavy 
clothing and shoes for such conditions, and the Superin- 
tendent had been compelled to purchase shoes wherever 
possible, in order to supply their needs. Yet, there was 
practically no sickness, and hardly a cadet fell out of 
ranks, throughout the entire week. 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"December 21, 1863. 
"General Orders — No. 92. 

"I. The severe tour of duty in the field to which the Corps 
of Cadets has been recently called makes it proper that academic 
duties should be suspended to-morrow, that time may be afforded 
for cleaning arms, etc., so as to be in a state of preparedness for 
any other calls. The regular academic exercises will be resumed on 
Wednesday morning. 

"II. The cheerful alacrity with which the cadets have responded 
to this call of their country, and the patient endurance with which 
they have borne the severe exposure to which they have been sub- 
jected, constitute the highest tests of character of the true soldier. 
"By command of Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

The following day it was announced that the accounts 
of cadets would, upon the authority of the Adjutant- 
General, be credited with the cost of the shoes and other 
clothing procured for them during the expedition, and 
that the Chief of Ordnance had honored a requisition 
for 250 pairs of army shoes for the cadets and the 
musicians who had accompanied the Corps in the field, 
and that he had also detailed three regular shoemakers 
to the Institute to keep the cadets properly shod in the 

276 The Military Histoky of 



The winter of 1864 was an uneventful one for the 
Corps, for no further field service was exacted of the 
cadets until late in the spring. 

The monotony of the routine was broken only by the 
coming and going of dashing young officers who clanked 
their spurs about Barracks, and recounted marvelous 
tales of the service, to an interested audience. Wounded 
or paroled officers from distant homes frequently spent 
their periods of inactivity visiting their friends in the 
faculty and sub-faculty. There was "Sheep" Flower- 
ree of Vicksburg, '61, Colonel of the gallant 7th Vir- 
ginia, who had been desperately wounded at Fredericks- 
burg, but with bandages almost wet had ridden up 
Cemetery Hill at the head of his regiment, 
after Colonel W. T. Patton, '55 (whom he succeeded in 
command), had been wounded, and who now came to 
visit his old classmate. Captain Wise. Then, there were 
"Bute" Henderson, '59, "Tige" Harding, '58 
(woimded at Fort Harrison), "Marsh" McDonald, '60, 
paroled at Vicksburg, all of whom, at one time or an- 
other during the war, turned up at the Institute. To 
the outside world, they were Colonels, Majors, etc.; at 
the Virginia Military Institute, they were "Sheep" and 
"Bute" and "Tige", just as the permanent officers of 
the Institute were "Old Spex" Smith, "Old Bald" 
Preston, "Old Jack" Jackson, "Old Polly" Colston, 
"Old Tom" Williamson, "Old Gill" Gilham, "Chinook" 
Wise, and "Old Shipp". Everybody connected with 
the Institute from the smallest "rat" to the most vener- 
able professor, has always had his appropriate nick- 
name, and generally an extraordinarily appropriate 
one. Who gives them, how they originate, — no one 

The Virginia Military Institute 277 

knows; but they invariably attach themselves with a 
persistence which never relaxes with time. 

Many a day out of study hours, from the lips of the 
visiting officers the cadets drank in the stories of how 
Meagher's Irish Brigade was repulsed at Marye's 
Heights; or, how Hayes made his stand at Hamilton's 
Crossing; or, Pender at the Railroad; or, how Pelham 
raked Franklin's Corps on the Rappahannock Flats. 
Then, there were the stories of little Joe Latimer, the 
"Boy-Major," at Gettysburg; and of Bob Chew and 
Jimmie Thomson, and their marvelous charges with 
their horse battery in the Valley, and how "Tige" Hard- 
ing seized General Lee's bridle rein at the Wilderness 
and led him from the head of the column ; and of Patton, 
and Allen, and the others — all graduates — at Cemetery 
Hill. Indeed, very few youngsters ever had such 
practical lessons in the art of war. 

The dullness of Lexington was also enhvened by the 
presence of Rosser's celebrated "Laurel Brigade" 
which wintered in 1864 at Buffalo Forge, only a few 
miles from town. The Institute was constantly visited 
by Rosser and his staff officers who brought the cadets 
in touch with the army, as nothing else had done. The 
bold cavaliers jangled their spurs through the sally- 
port, laughed loudly in the "subs" quarters, and rode 
about as if they carried the world in a shng, singing 
merrily the song of Stuart's men — "If you want to 
have a good time, jine the Cav-al-ry!" 

These welcome neighbors afforded the cadets unend- 
ing enjoyment. 

During February, the Corps learned that Grant had 
been transferred to command in the east; and soon that 
the Valley was to be cleaned up in such a way that a 
crow traversing the fair region of the Shenandoah would 
have to carry his rations with him. This all spelled an 
early resumption of active service; and many of the 280 
cadets present during the winter resigned, to join the 

278 The Military History of 

"Good boys became bad boys for the express purpose 
of getting 'shipped', parents and guardians having re- 
fused to permit them to resign. The stage coaches for 
the railroad stations at Goshen and Staunton stopped 
at the sally-port, on nearly every trip, to take on cadets 
departing for the front. Many a night, sauntering back 
and forth on the sentry-beat in front of Barracks, catch- 
ing sounds of loud talk and laughter from the officers' 
quarters, or pondering upon the last joyous squad of 
cadets who had scrambled to the top of the departing 
stage, my heart longed for the camp; and I wondered 
if my time would ever come."* 

In January, Captain Marshall McDonald was de- 
tailed by the War Department as Assistant Professor; 
and Lieutenants Prince and Roller departed for the 
Army. Others soon took their places ; and so the winter 
passed away. 

Late in March, orders were received by Rosser to 
break camp and move, as soon as the roads permitted, 
to the lower Valley. As a farewell compliment to the 
distinguished officer and his command, the Superin- 
tendent tendered him the compliment of a review of the 
Corps, on April 2d. 

April 11th, Rosser broke his winter camp at Buffalo 
Forge, and before departing, requested the privilege of 
presenting the Corps with a handsome Federal Flag, 
which the 11th Virginia Cavalry (Colonel Fvmston 
commanding) of his brigade had captured from the 
enemy at Sangster's Station. Accordingly, the Com- 
mandant was ordered to form the Corps at 2 p. m. for 
the ceremony. Promptly, Rosser's horsemen came 
ambling, trotting, galloping, prancing, upon the parade 
ground, their mounted band playing, and their little 
guidons fluttering. 

A squadron of 11th Virginia Cavalry was quickly 
formed into line facing the Cadet Battalion, while 
Lieutenant-Colonel Matt Dulaney Ball, commanding, 
presented the trophy. Rosser, whose escort on this 

•End of an Bra, John S. Wise, '64, p. 286. 

The Virginia Military Institute 279 

occasion was decked with leaves of mountain laurel — 
the evergreen badge which the brigade had adopted — 
with the rest of his command, witnessed the ceremony 
from the edge of the parade ground. 

To the speech of presentation, Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott Shipp, the Commandant, who was notoriously 
diffident in pubhc speaking, handsomely replied, as 
follows : 

"Allow me, sir, in behalf of the Corps of Cadets, to ac- 
cept, and to return their acknowledgments for, this beau- 
tiful trophy. To be thus distinguished by those deeds 
of high daring which have won the plaudits of a grate- 
ful people, is indeed a proud distinction. We will re- 
ceive and transrhit it as a token of remembrance of the 
brave deeds of brave men ; admiration of the valor which 
won it will arouse the enthusiasm, and strengthen the 
resolves of the young preparing to enter upon the path 
of glory; and when grim-visaged war shall have 
smoothed its wrinkled front, and peace and prosperity 
succeed the tumult and destruction of battle, it will be 
pleasant to contemplate this as an evidence of the suc- 
cess of our defenders against our country's foe. For 
that peace you have fought and bled, and by your valor, 
with God's assistance, it will be accomplished. But, in 
the meantime, the dread Moloch demands more heca- 
tombs of human victims. The war cloud will again 
burst in its fury upon you; those brave bosoms must 
again be bared to the pelting of the stones of battle; 
the banner of your gallant chieftain will soon be spread, 
and his war-cry be heard cheering you on to victory and 
to glory. The proud crest of your enemy must again 
be lowered, and his standard trailed in the dust. But 
your past achievements give an earnest of future suc- 
cess; our country's honor can be entrusted to you, with 
assurance that by you it will be maintained, and the 
justice of the common cause vindicated. 

"Young gentlemen of the Corps of Cadets, you re- 
ceive this trophy at the hands of the gallant squadron 
that wrested it from the grasp of the enemy in a mid- 

280 The Military History of 

night assault upon a stockaded fort. Treasure it as 
an evidence of their prowess; and thank God that He 
has given you such defenders. But, remember that you 
are preparing to go forth to battle in your own behalf. 
It behooves you, then, to cultivate and cherish those 
military virtues, and the love of glory, which inspire that 
generous ambition that leads to honor and renown. 
Courage is not an imborn quality; it is not natural, but 
artificial. True courage does not consist in insensibihty 
to danger, but in boldly confronting and bravely meet- 
ing it. This can be attained, not by the medium of a 
cold, calculating reason which regards life as the great- 
est blessing, the more precious in its eyes since without 
it we can have no other; but it must be sought under 
the guidance of those high and noble passions — the love 
of right, the love of country, the love of glory — senti- 
ments which none but the noble and generous ex- 
perience. Let the love of glory, then, direct you, and 
let the example of the brave stimulate that love ; and in 
your time you may hope to take your stand amongst 
the proudest of your country's defenders."* 

After this formal acceptance of the flag, Lieutenant- 
Colonel Ball led his squadron below the parapet, and, 
forming it in line perpendicular thereto, abreast the 
western end of the parade ground, presented the Corps 
with the thrilling spectacle of a headlong charge, with 
drawn sabers and the shrill battle cry of the Confeder- 
ates. At the Mess Hall, the troopers abruptly drew 
rein and dismoimted; whereupon, they were tendered 
a sumptuous repast by the Superintendent. Poor 
hungry fellows! One can well imagine the speed with 
which they traversed the approaches to those groaning 

Now, the sequel of these heroics leads us from the 
sublime to the ridiculous. It forms no part of the war- 
time history of the Institute; but it must, nevertheless, 
be narrated, in order to preserve the facts. In doing 
so, it should be understood, at the outset, that the writer 

♦From the original transcript in ttie possession of General Shipp. 

The Virginia Military Institute 281 

regards as preposterous any suggestion that Rosser, or 
any of his officers, acted in any way in bad faith, or 
with any motive but the highest. 

But, the truth is, soon after the presentation of the 
flag to the Corps of Cadets by the 11th Virginia Cavaby 
the rumor got abroad that the flag was not "wrested 
from the grasp of a vaUant foeman," but was foimd by 
the victors at Sangster's Station in a captured baggage 
wagon. This led to a certain amount of ridicule, not- 
withstanding the fact that the trophy was taken as a 
result of the prowess of the Confederate cavalrymen in 
a most gallant action. 

Very naturally, such criticism dampened the en- 
thusiasm of the Commandant and the cadets over the 
trophy concerning which, if the truth be known, the 
latter had never been over-appreciative. "We felt 
ashamed," wrote a cadet, "of having flags captured for 
us by others." But there is no suggestion that all did 
not appreciate the motives of the gallant soldiers who 
had presented the Corps of Cadets with the captured 

In 1883, when it was proposed by the Board of Visi- 
tors, of which Colonel Joseph P. Minetree, '59, was 
President, and Colonels Robert M. Mayo, '57, E. E. 
Portlock, J. H. Sherrard, J. B. Raulston; Majors J. A. 
Frazier, and R. H. Hooper, Judge George W. Ward, 
'64, Judge M. B. Wood, '64, and W. H. Rivercomb, 
Esq., were members, which is knoAvn as the "Read- 
juster Board," to return the captured flag to the city 
of New York, with befitting ceremony, the Comman- 
dant informed them of the report about the manner of 
its seizure, and warned them that there was danger of 
its not being received by the people of New York in the 
spirit expected by the Board. Little notice, however, 
was taken of this suggestion. 

The final exercises were held at the Institute as usual, 
with the exception that the Diplomas were not granted 
there. On the 30th of June, the Corps, which then 
numbered little over one hundred cadets, accompanied 

282 The Military Histoky qf 

by the Board of Visitors and the Superintendent, left 
for New York by special train, all expenses being de- 
frayed by Governor Cameron out of his contingent 

Arriving in New York City on the 2d of July, the 
Corps was quartered in the old 69th Regiment Armory, 
near Cooper's Union. On the 4th, it was marched with 
colors flying to the Fifth Avenue Hotel where arms 
were stacked in the lobby and the cadets assembled in 
the large reception room above. Here, President 
Arthur, after a brief speech, delivered the Diplomas to 
the Graduating Class. His remarks were not inspired 
with that enthusiasm which it had been expected the 
occasion would ehcit, for, unfortunately, that morning, 
the New York Herald, apprised of the mission of the 
Corps, had fully presented the facts concerning the 
capture of the flag from the New York Regiment. Ap- 
preciating the motives of the Board and of the cadets, 
it refrained from irony, but, nevertheless, in a delicate 
way, stated the facts of the case. 

Now, anyone knows that a battle flag captured in a 
baggage wagon does not possess the same interest for 
the world that a stand of colors taken in action does; 
and, while everyone accorded the 11th Virginia Cavalry 
full credit for their daring on the field of Sangster's 
Station, feeling was universal that the trophy, being re- 
turned to the City of New York, from whose troops it 
had been taken, lacked something essential to the in- 
spiration of real enthusiasm over the event. The officers 
and cadets of the Institute over-sensitive, perhaps, felt 
that their position was an absurd one ; but the generous 
conduct of the Mayor and other officials engaged in the 
reception of the flag (all of whom entered into the 
affair with the proper spirit) did much to reassure them. 

From the Fifth Avenue Hotel the Battalion was 
marched doAvn Broadway to the City Hall where the 
Superintendent, attended by his staff and the members 
of the Board, conveyed the trophy to the Mayor's 
Office, and presented the flag with a few appropriate 

The Virginia Military Institute 283 

remarks (after accidentally smashing the costly chande- 
lier fixtures with the pike-head of the staff) to the Chief 
Executive of the great metropolis. 

Mayor Fernando Wood, a most distinguished gentle- 
man, gracefully received the flag; and, in an appropriate 
speech of acceptance, expressed the sincere gratitude of 
the people of the City of New York, showing not the 
least suggestion of a lack of appreciation on their part. 

After the presentation, the Corps was tendered by 
the Mayor a sumptuous repast, spread in the spacious 
lower apartments of the City Hall, the Commandant 
just arriving on the scene in time to check the danger- 
ously generous Ubations of New York's best champagne, 
which were being poured out, to the delectation of the 
youthful soldiers. 

So, ended an affair, if not farcical, certainly the most 
unwelcome one in which the Corps of Cadets, in its 
miUtary capacity, has, perhaps, ever engaged; for, in 
spite of the appreciative manner in which the flag was 
received by official New York, the Herald had unin- 
tentionally given the whole affair the semblance of an 
opera houfl'e. 

But the incident was valuable, in that it pointed two 
morals which will long be remembered at the Institute ; 
first, no military organization should receive the 
captured flags of another command ; and second, let the 
command which takes them, return its own trophies ! 

284 The Military History of 



When Grant undertook the execution of his plan to 
take Richmond, in the spring of 1864, he assigned 
Major- General Franz Sigel, commanding the Depart- 
ment of West Virginia, the task of overrunning the 
Valley with the 25,000 men at his disposal. This rich 
section had been regarded as the granary of Lee's Army 
throughout the war, and many futile efforts had been 
made to gain complete possession of it, 

Imboden learned early in the spring of Sigel's orders, 
which were to press up the Valley with about 8,000 
men, with a view to seizing Staunton and Lynchburg, 
while Crook with a somewhat larger force was to make 
a raid through southwest Virginia and destroy the Vir- 
ginia and Tennessee Railroad as he moved eastward 
towards Lynchburg, where it was expected the two 
columns would form a junction. 

Leaving the Kanawha on May 2d, Crook penetrated 
as far as Union, where he vmited with Averell, and 
then fell back, after having defeated Jenkins at Cloyd's 
Mountain on the 9th, again at New River on the 11th, 
and after cutting the railroad. 

On May 1st, Sigel commenced his march upon 
Staunton, which was intended to be a diversion in favor 
of Crook. In the Valley, Imboden, with less than 3,000 
men, alone stood across his path, but, on the 2d, broke 
camp and advanced from Mount Crawford to meet 
Sigel, after calling upon the Home Guards in Rocking- 
ham and Augusta counties to prepart to assist him. 
He also requested General Smith to place the Corps of 
Cadets in readiness to march to his support. 

The Virginia Military Institute 285 

During the late winter, the cadets had been unusually 
restless. On one occasion they had held a mass meeting 
and passed resolutions tendering their services as a 
military unit to General Lee, an action, which, late in 
April, led the Superintendent to make such an offer 
through proper channels, for the experiences of the fall 
and winter convinced him that serious and uninter- 
rupted apphcation to academic work was impossible, 
with raiding columns galloping around the county and 
threatening, at all times, to reach Lexington. 

The day Imboden directed the cadets to be held hi 
readiness, the following letter from General Lee to the 
Adjutant- General was received by the Superintendent : 

"April 26, 1864. 

"Major-General Wm. H. Richardson, 

"Adjutant-General of Virginia, Richmond. 

"General — Your letter of the 22d inst., inclosing that of Gen- 
eral Francis H. Smith, in which he proposes to tender the services 
of the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute for the 
approaching campaign, is received. 

"I desire to express my appreciation of the patriotic spirit that 
actuates General Smith in making this proposal, and my gratifi- 
cation at finding that it meets with your concurrence. I do not 
think, however, that it would be best, at this time, for the Corps to 
be called to this Army. It is now in a situation to render valuable 
aid in defending our western frontier, which may be menaced 
simultaneously with the general advance of the enemy in the east. 
It will thus prevent the necessity of detaching troops from this 
Army. I think it would be advisable for General Smith to hold the 
command in readiness to co-operate with General Breckinridge and 
General Imboden, in case of necessity, and to notify those officers 
of the fact. Should it at any time become necessary, or expedient, 
to have the service of the cadets with this Army, it is very gratify- 
ing to me to know that they are so freely placed at my disposal. 

"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"R. E. Lee, 


Upon receiving this letter, the Adjutant- General for- 
warded it to the Superintendent, directing him to pre- 

286 The Military History of 

pare the Corps for the field and to communicate with 
Breckinridge and Imboden, which he did, as follows: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 2, 1864. 
"Major-General John C. Breckinridge, 

"Commanding Dept. of Western Virginia, Dublin Depot. 

"General — I have the honor to inclose herewith a letter from 
General R. E. Lee, commanding Army of Northern Virginia, ad- 
dressed to the Adjutant-General of Virginia, also a copy of in- 
structions from the Governor of Virginia, communicated by the 
Adjutant-General, defining my duty as Superintendent of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute. Under these instructions and suggestions, 
I now respectfully report to you for such orders as the emergencies 
of the approaching campaign may call forth. The Corps of Cadets 
number an aggregate of 280, of whom 250 may be relied upon for 
active duty, leaving 30 as a necessary guard to the Institute, and as 
disabled. The command is organized as a battalion of four com- 
panies, and is usually accompanied by a section of artillery. It is 
fully equipped, except in horses, and these are impressed in case of 
need. We have abundance of ammunition, tents, knapsacks, 
shovels, and picks, and will be prepared to march at a moment's 
notice. Brigadier-General Imboden is about constructing tele- 
graphic communication between the Institute and Staunton. This, 
he hopes to have in operation by the middle of May. In the mean- 
time, he will communicate with us by signals. Any orders, or 
intelligence from Dublin Depot, had better be forwarded to General 
Imboden, at Staunton, with instructions to be immediately (trans- 
mitted) to me. 

"I remain. General, 

"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"Francis H. Smith, 
"Brevet Major-General and Superintendent."* 

The following prompt reply was received from 
Breckinridge : 

"Headquarters, Department of West Virginia, 

"Dublin Depot, May 4, 1864. 
"General Francis H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va. 

"General — I have just received your letter of the 2d inst., 
concerning one from General Lee to the Adjutant-General of 
Virginia, also a copy of the instructions to you from the Governor. 

•Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, pp. 707-708. 

The Virginia Military Institute 287 

"I am gratified to learn that a battalion of cadets 250 strong, 
with a section of artillery, will be ready to move on a moment's 
notice. This force will be very effective in assisting to repel, or 
capture, destructive raiding parties. 

"The limits of my department have not been defined in the east, 
and I have been unable to adopt many precautions east of Monroe 
and Greenbrier. I have, however, thrown up a work at the railroad 
bridge over the Cow Pasture, another at the bridge over Jackson 
River, and a line of rifle pits at Island Ford. Col. Wm. L. Jackson 
is covering the approaches to these points, and to Rockbridge, from 
that general direction. It may be necessary for you to move in 
that quarter, or to protect the Iron Furnace in Botetourt, or in 
Buchanan. I will try to send the earliest intelligence through 
General Imboden, as you suggest, or if it should be beyond reach 
of telegraph, by special courier. 

"General Imboden will, of course, apprise you of my movements 
in direction of Millboro, Staunton, etc. 

"FuUy appreciating your patriotic feelings, and those of the 
young gentlemen you command, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"John C. Breckinridoe." 

While the Corps remained in restless ignorance of 
the probability of the early call which the foregoing 
communication indicated to the authorities, the follow- 
ing letter was forwarded to the Superintendent by the 
Governor, who directed that the flag mentioned be 
hoisted, as requested: 

"March 6, 1864. 

"His Excellency, William Smith, 
"Governor of Virginia. 

"Sir — I have received from Mr. H. Sheddon, of Liverpool, the 
enclosed letter, and the accompanying flag manufactured by him to 
be hoisted over the grave of the lamented Jackson. As the remains 
of the deceased hero repose in the immediate vicinity, if not actually 
within the precinct, of the Virginia Military Institute, a State 
institution with which he was connected as an honored professor, I 
have thought it most appropriate to commit the flag to the custody 
of your Excellency, feeling assured that you will take pleasure in 
carrying out the wishes of the generous donor. 
"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"James A. Sedden, 

"Secretary of War." 

288 The Military History of 


"10 Waffling, Liverpool, 

"26th January, 1864. 

"To THE RioHT Honorable, the Secretary of War, 
"Confederate States of America, 
"Richmond, Virginia. 

"Sir — Having read in some of the English papers that a flag is 
kept permanently hoisted over the grave of the late lamented 
General Stonewall Jackson, may I beg your acceptance of one I 
send with this letter to replace the one now in use when it shall 
have become worn out, as some slight expression of my admiration 
for the character and heroism of General Jackson, and also of my 
best wishes for the success of the Confederacy. 

"I remain, sir, with much respect, 

"Yours obediently, 

"Hugh Sheddon." 

Accordingly, on May 9th, the Superintendent 
directed that the Corps be formed at 9 a. m. the follow- 
ing day, which was done; and the handsome flag was 
hoisted over his grave in the Lexington Cemetery by 
the Corps, on the First Anniversary of the death of 
Lieutenant-General Thomas Jonathan Jackson, late 
Professor, Virginia Military Institute, amid the plau- 
dits of a great gathering of citizens. 

How singular it was on that very day Breckinridge 
issued his order calhng on the Corps of Cadets to take 
the field in his support! 

On May 4th, Breckinridge, who had succeeded Jones 
in command of the Department of West Virginia in 
February, had been informed by President Davis that 
Sigel was advancing up the Valley against Imboden, 
and was requested to hasten to the defense of Staunton. 
May 6th, he set out from Pulaski County with Echols's 
Brigade, consisting of the 22d Virginia, the 26th 
Battalion, and the 23d Battalion, the 51st Virginia, 
Clarke's Battalion, SOth Virginia, of Wharton's Bri- 
gade ; and Chapman's Battery, aggregating about 4,000 
men. Reaching Staunton on the 8th, in advance of his 
troops, Breckinridge at once took charge of affairs. 

Sigel's movements since the 2d had been characterized 
by the utmost slowness. Two flank columns of cavalry 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 289 

which he had sent out from Winchester had been de- 
feated; but, on the 9th he was joined at Cedar Creek by 
Sulhvan's division, and, after a skirmish on the 10th, 
reached Woodstock. It was at this juncture that 
Breckinridge determined to call upon the Corps of 
Cadets, and early that day he dispatched his order by 
courier to General Smith. 

"It was the 10th of May. 

"Nature bedecked herself that springtime in her 
loveliest garb, battahon drill had begun early, and the 
Corps had never been more proficient at this season of 
the year. 

"The parade ground was firm and green. The trees 
were clothed in the full livery of fresh foliage. The 
sun shone on us through pellucid air, and the light 
breath of May kissed and fluttered our white colors, 
which were adorned with the face of Washington. 

"After going through the maneuvers of battalion 
drill, the Corps was drawn up, near sundown, for dress- 
parade. It was the time of year when townsfolk drove 
down and ranged themselves upon the avenue to witness 
our brave display ; and groups of girls in filmy garments 
set off with bits of color, came tripping across the sod ; 
and children and nurses sat about the benches at the 
Guard- Tree. 

"The battahon was put through the manual. The 
first sergeants reported. The adjutant read his orders. 
The fifes and drvmis played down the line in slow time, 
arid came back with a jolly, rattling air. The officers 
advanced to music, and saluted. The sun sank beyond 
the House Mountain. The evening gim boomed forth. 
The garrison-flag fell lazily from its peak on the 
barracks' tower. The four companies went springing 
homeward to the gayest tune the fifes knew how to 
play. Never, in all its history, looked Lexington more 

"Never did sense of secluded peacefulness rest more 
soothingly upon her population. In our leisure-time, 
after supper, cadets strolled back and forth from 


290 The Militaky History of 

Ban-acks to the 'Limits' gate, and watched the full- 
orbed moon lift herself from the mountains. Perfume 
was in the air, silence in the shadows. Well might we 
quote : — 

" 'How beautiful this night ! 
The balmiest sigh that vernal zephyrs breathe in evening's ear, 
Were discord to the speaking quietude 
That wraps this moveless scene. Heaven's ebon vault, 
Bestudded with stars unutterably bright. 
Through which the moon's unclouded 
Splendor rolls, seems like a canopy which 
Love hath spread, to shelter its 
Sleeping world.' " 

"And so, tranquil, composed by the delightful scenes 
around us, three hundred of us closed our eyes, and 
passed into happy dreams of youth and springtime. 

"Hark! the drimis are beating. Their throbbing 
bounds through every corner of the Barracks, saying to 
the sleepers, 'Be up and doing'. It is the long roll. 

"Long roll had been beaten several times of late, 
sometimes to catch absentees, and once for a fire in the 
town. Grumblingly the cadets hurried down to their 
places in the ranks, expecting to be soon dismissed, and 
to return to their beds. A group of officers, intently 
scanning by the light of a lantern a paper held by the 
adjutant, stood near the statue of George Washington, 
opposite the arch. The companies were marched to- 
gether. The adjutant commanded, 'Attention!' and 
proceeded to read the orders in his hands."* 

Breckinridge's dispatch had been received and was 
as follows: 

"Staunton, May 10, 1864'. 

"General F. H. Smith, 

"Commandant of Cadets, Virginia Military Institute, 
"Lexington, Virginia. 

"Sigel is moving up the Valley, was at Strasburg last night. 
I can not tell yet whether this is his destination. I would be glad 
to have your assistance at once, with the cadets, and the section of 
artillery. Bring all the forage and rations you can. 

•End of an Bra, John S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 291 

"Have the reserves of Rockbridge ready, and let them send here 
for arms and ammunition, if they can not be supplied at Lexington. 

"Very respectfully, 

"John C. Breckinridge, 

"Maj or-General . " 

And then followed the Superintendent's midnight 
order : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 11, 1861.. 
"General Orders — No. 18. 

"I. Under the orders of Major-General John C. Breckinridge, 
Commanding Department of West Virginia, the Corps of Cadets 
and a Section of Artillery will forthwith take up the line of march 
for Staunton, Virginia, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott Shipp. The cadets will carry with them two days' rations. 

"II. Captain J. C. Whitwell will accompany the expedition as 
Assistant Quartermaster and Commissary, and will see that the 
proper transportation, etc., is supplied. 

"III. Surgeon R. L. Madison and Assistant Surgeon George 
Ross will accompany the expedition, and attend to the care of the 
sick and wounded. 

"IV. Colonel Shipp, on arriving at Staunton, will report in 
person to Major-General Breckinridge, and await his further 

"V. Captain T. M. Semmes is assigned to temporary duty on 
the staff of the Commanding Officer. 

"By command, Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

" 'Parade's dismissed', piped the adjutant. The ser- 
geants side-stepped us to our respective company- 

"Methinks that, even after thirty- three years, I once 
more hear the game-cock voices of the sergeants detail- 
ing their artillery and ammimition squads, and ordering 
us to appear with canteens, haversacks, and blankets at 
four A. M. Still, silence reigned. Then, as company 
after company broke ranks, the air was rent with wild 
cheering at the thought that our hour was come, at last. 

"Elsewhere in the Confederacy, death, disaster, dis- 
appointment may have by this time chilled the ardor of 

292 The Military History of 

our people; but here, in this Uttle band of fledghngs, 
the hope of battle flamed as brightly as on the morning 
of Manassas. 

"We breakfasted by candle-light, and filled our 
haversacks from the mess-hall tables. In the gray of 
morning, we woimd down the hill to the river, tramped 
heavily across the bridge, ascended the pike beyond, 
cheered the fading turrets of the School; and sunrise 
found us going at a four-mile gait to Staunton, our 
gallant little battery rumbling behind."* 

It rained intermittently throughout the day, but the 
Corps reached Midway, about 18 miles from Lexington, 
that afternoon, where it bivouacked for the night. 

Meantime the Superintendent had forwarded the 
following communication to Breckinridge: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"May 11, 1864, 6 a. m. 
"Major-General J. C. Breckinridge, 

"Commanding Department of Western Virginia. 

"General — Your dispatch of yesterday by courier was received 
by me at 9 p. m. Immediately gave orders to Lieutenant-Colonel 
Shipp, commanding cadets, to have his battalion in readiness to move 
this morning at 7 o'clock. They are now forming and will reach 
Bell's, sixteen miles, to-day and be in Staunton to-morrow. I have 
issued to them rations for two days, and will send with them 600 
pounds of bacon and as much beef as I can find transportation for. 
I have sixty- four barrels of flour near Staunton. I send 100 bushels 
of corn for forage. The cadets are armed with Austrian rifles and 
take 40 rounds of ammunition. The section of artillery will consist 
of 3-inch iron rifles, and the ammunition chests of the limbers will 
be filled. I have ten or twelve 6-pounder brass pieces here mounted 
and one 12-pounder howitzer, if any should be needed. Horses 
have been impressed for the artillery and transportation, but horses 
are slow in coming in. The artillery have orders to reach the 
infantry battalion to-night. 

"I have ordered four companies of reserves to rendezvous here. 
I wiU arm and equip them, and hold them in readiness to move at a 
moment's notice. No commanding officers have been appointed to 
this battalion. I will direct the commander of the post of Lexington 
to supply rations, should they be called out. Your dispatch finds 
me very unwell, but I shall hope to be with you to-morrow. 

♦End of an Era, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 293 

Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp has orders to report to you on reach- 
ing Staunton. If the reserve companies are required to move to 
Staunton, I will have them in readiness to move to-morrow, and 
shall get transportation for 6,000 pounds of bacon from the Com- 
missary, Confederate States, here. 

"Francis H. Smith, 

"Brevet Major-General."* 

"May 11th. We surely 'dwell in the midst of alarms'. 
We were roused from our beds this morning at five 
o'clock by an order for the impressment of our horses 
to haul the institute cannon : then came Frank ( Captain 
Preston, tactical officer, V. M. I.), Preston Cocke, and 
Wilham Lewis (cadets), for a hurried breakfast, and 
provisions for their haversacks; ordered towards Win- 
chester, where is Sigel with a large Yankee force. They 
left at 7 o'clock; all the Home Guard is ordered out 
too; so Lexington is left without men. Last night, fir- 
ing was heard by a great many persons, more distinctly, 
they say, than ever before. They suppose it to be at 
Richmond. I'm thankful my husband is away on the 
errand of God's Church, and so escapes going to Win- 
chester. He will regret it no little!"** 

May 12th the Corps reached Staunton. "We were in 
every way fitted for this kind of work by our hard drill- 
ing, and marched into Staunton in the afternoon of the 
second day, showing httle effects of travel. We found 
a pleasant camping-ground on the outskirts of the town, 
and thither the whole population flocked for inspection 
of the Corps, and to witness dress-parade, for our fame 
was widespread. The attention bestowed upon the 
cadets was enough to turn the heads of much hvimbler 
persons than ourselves, "f 

Evening found the Confederate forces in Staunton 
in the shadow of impending battle, for couriers hourly 
arrived reporting Sigel's approach. Breckinridge, how- 
ever, bold to the point of rashness, but no doubt count- 
ing much on the dullness of his adversary, determined 

•Rebellion Becords, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, p. 730. 

* 'Diary of Mrs. Preston, p. 179. 

tBnd of an Era, J. S. Wise. Tlie camp was Just north of the town. 

294 The Military History of 

to move out the next morning to meet the enemy, and 
published the following order, which was read to the 
cadets at dress parade: 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"Staunton, Va., May 12, 1864. 

"General Orders — No. 1. 

"I. The command will march to-morrow morning promptly at 
6 o'clock, on turnpike to Harrisonburg. 

"The following Order of March will be observed: 
"Wharton's Brigade, 
"Echols's Brigade, 
"Corps of Cadets, 
"Reserve Forces, 

"Ambulances and Medical Wagons, 
"II. The artillery will, for the present, be united and form a 
battalion, under the command of Major McLaughlin. 

"The trains will move behind the artillery in the order of their 
respective commands. 

"III. Brigadier-General Echols will detail two companies under 
the command of a field-officer as guard for the trains. 
"By command of Major-General Breckinridge, 

"J. Stoddard Johnston, 

"A. A.-G." 

To the various commanding officers the following 
circular was issued: 

"Circular, May 12, 1864. 

"I. The troops of this command will be ready to move at day- 
light to-morrow morning, with two (2) days' cooked rations. At 
least five (5) days' rations will be taken in the wagons, and more 
if possible. 

"II. Commanding officers are directed to take sufficient steps to 
prevent the wagons from being overloaded with superfluous articles. 
No knapsacks, blankets, etc., etc., will be carried in the wagons, 
or on the pieces or caissons. 

"By command of Major-General Breckinridge, 

"W. B. Myers, 
"A. A.-G."* 

•From the original in General Shlpp's possession. 

The Virginia Military Institute 295 

That night, hke Brussels on the eve of Waterloo, the 
town was hilarious. The cadets were in great demand 
at the dances which had been arranged for their enter- 
tainment. "The adoration bestowed upon us by the 
young girls disgusted the regular officers. Before our 
coming, they had things all their own way. Now, they 
found that fierce mustaches and heavy cavalry boots 
must give place to the downy cheeks and merry, twink- 
hng feet we brought from Lexington. A big blond 
captain, who was wearing a stunning bimch of gilt 
aiguiUettes, looked as if he would snap off my head 
when I trotted up and whisked his partner away from 
him. They could not, and would not, understand why 
girls preferred these little untitled whippersnappers 
to officers of distinction. Veterans forgot that youth 
loves youth. 

"All this on the eve of a battle? Yes, of course. 
Why not? To be sure, everybody knew there was go- 
ing to be a fight. That was what we came for. But 
nobody among us knew, or cared, just when or where 
it was coming off. Life is too full of trouble for petty 
officers, or privates, or young girls, to bother themselves 
hunting up such disagreeable details in advance. That 
was the business of generals. They were to have all the 
glory; and so we were willing they should have all the 
sohcitude, anxiety, and preoccupation."* 

On the 13th, the command went into camp at Mount 
Crawford, near Harrisonburg, while Sigel sent forward 
from Woodstock three regiments of infantry, 900 
cavalry, and six guns, under Colonel Moor to feel for 
Imboden. Nimaerous couriers reported the advance of 
the enemy. 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"Mount Crawford, May 13, 1864. 
"General Orders — No. 2. 

"I. The command will move on the main road to Harrisonburg 
and New Market at daylight, to-morrow, in the following order: 
"Echols's Brigade, 
"Wharton's Brigade, 

*End of an Bra, J. S. Wise. 

296 The Military History of 

"Corps of Cadets, 



"II. Col. Harman will keep his wagons and move in rear, but 
marching as fast as possible. 

"Ambulances and medical wagons will move immediately in rear 
of their respective commands. 

"Ammunition wagons will move in rear of the artillery. It will 
be regarded as a standing order that the wagons move in the order 
of their commands. 

"III. Brigadier-General Wharton will detail two companies, 
with a field-officer as guard for the train. 

"IV. The order of march must be closer than it was to-day, and 
the trains must be kept well closed up. Straggling and wandering 
into houses and grounds on the roadside by the officers and men will 
be stopped at once. Commanding officers will require the medical 
officers to march with their commands in their proper positions, and 
allow no one to fall behind but upon surgeon's certificate. 

"V. Commanding officers will throw out small pickets on the 
roads leading to their encampments. 

"By command of Major-General Breckinridge, 

"J. Stoddard Johnston, 

"A. A.-G."* 

"Pressing on through Harrisonburg, which we 
reached early in the morning, we camped the second 
night (14th) at Moimt Tabor, in Shenandoah; rain had 
set in, but the boys stood up well to their work, and but 
few lame ducks succumbed."** 

During the day Moor's force gained contact with 
Imboden's brigade near Moimt Jackson, and, forcing 
it across the Shenandoah, seized the bridge, then fol- 
lowed the retreating Confederates seven miles up the 
Valley to New Market. 

"Evidences of the approach of the enemy multiplied 
throughout the day. We passed a great many vehicles 
coming up the Valley with people and farm products 
and household effects, and a number of herds of cattle 
and other livestock, all escaping from the Union troops ; 
now and then a weary or wounded cavalryman came by. 
Their reports were that Sigel's steady advance was only 

•From the origiBal In General Shipp's possession. 
•*Bna of an Bra, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 297 

delayed by a thin line of cavalry skirmishers, who had 
been ordered to retard him as best they could, until 
Breckinridge could march his army down to meet him. 

"Towards evening, we came to a stone church and 
spring, where a cavalry detail with a squad of Union 
prisoners were resting. The prisoners were a gross, 
surly-looking lot of Germans, who could not speak 
English. They evidently could not make us out. They 
watched us with manifest curiosity, and talked in un- 
intelhgible, gutteral sounds among themselves. 

"When we reached camp, the rain had stopped and 
the clouds had hfted, but everything was wet and 
gummy. Looking down the Valley, as evening closed 
in, we could see a line of bivouac fires, and were un- 
certain whether they were lit by our own pickets, or by 
the enemy. At any rate, we were getting sufficiently 
near to the gentlemen whom we were seeking to feel 
reasonably certain we should meet them. 

"Night closed in upon us ; for a little while the wood- 
land resoimded with the axe-stroke, or the cheery haUoos 
of the men from camp-fire to camp-fire ; for a while the 
fire lights danced, the air laden with the odor of cook- 
ing food; for a while the boys stood around the camp 
fires for warmth, and to dry their wet clothing; but soon 
all had wrapped their blankets aroimd them and lain 
down in silence, unbroken save by the champing of the 
Colonel's horse upon his provender, or the fall of a pass- 
ing shower."* 

Thus bivouacked the command from which the 
next day so many were called to their final sleep. Boys 
they may have been who dozed off to Nature's lullaby 
that night, on the damp pallet of the soft fields — a 
couch, as we have seen, by no means unf amihar to them 
— but ere another sunset they had groAvn to the stature 
of men — ^heroic men — to whom the veterans no longer 
sang "Rock-a-bye, Baby," as they had done upon the 
arrival of the Corps in Staunton. 

•End of an Era, J. S. Wise. Most of the cadets slept in the stone church 
at Mount Tabor. 

298 The Military History or 

Moor's success in driving Imboden back upon New 
Market was Sigel's undoing, for having first determined 
to make the stand at Mount Jackson, on the night of 
the 14th, he found his army divided by a distance of 
nineteen miles, one part at Woodstock and the other at 
New Market. Early the next morning he ordered his 
remaining troops to advance, and by 10 a. m. they 
reached Mount Jackson. At this point he received dis- 
patches from Moor advising him of the excellent posi- 
tion at New Market, seven miles up the Valley. He now 
wavered, and then decided to strike out for New Market, 
reaching that point himself about noon, but soon per- 
ceived that he would not be able to consolidate his com- 
mand in time to use its full strength during the day. 
He, therefore, faltered again, and, instead of fighting 
a delaying action in the position Moor held, ordered his 
advance-guard commander to fall back slowly, in the 
hope of effecting a speedier junction between the two 
parts of his army. It seems clear now that he should 
either have allowed Moor to show a firm front, or have 
ordered him to retire rapidly to Mount Jackson, thereby 
reaping the advantages of disorder among the pursuers. 

"In 1864, the town of New Market consisted of two 
or three rows of houses built along the turnpike which 
runs northeast through the Shenandoah Valley. It 
possessed a certain strategic importance, in that it lay 
at the intersection of the Valley Turnpike and the road 
which runs to Luray. To the west of the pike is the 
north fork of the Shenandoah. At the river there are 
high bluffs from which the land slopes gradually down 
towards the pike ; while from New Market the country, 
rising slowly to the north and abruptly to the southwest, 
culminates in two hills, on which, at one time or another, 
the opposing armies made their stand. To the south 
the Confederates were posted on Shirley's Hill, to the 
north the Federal forces occupied Bushong's Hill, and, 
at the close of the battle, Rude's Hill, some distance to 
the rear. In 1864, these hills were pastures and wheat 
fields, intersected now and then by fences and stone 

The Virginia Military Institute 299 

walls. Between Shirley's Hill and Bushong's Hill, in 
one place there was a shallow ravine. The scene which 
was closed by the river bluffs on the west, was shut in 
on the east by the Massanutten Mountain, a mile or 
more to the east of the pike, approach to which was 
rendered difficult by intervening marches and wood- 
lands. Between the pike and the mountain, Smith's 
Creek, a small stream, flows northward to empty into 
the Shenandoah. On the west, then, was the river, on 
the east the mountain ; to the north and to the south the 
hills seized by the hostile forces; down the middle ran 
the turnpike, and in the center lay the town of New 

"During the day preceding, May 14th, the Con- 
federates under Imboden had been resisting the ad- 
vance of the Federal troops ; but, after sharp skirmishes, 
they had been forced to fall back before what they re- 
ported as overwhelming numbers, and the van of the 
Federal Army had crossed the river. This was while 
Imboden, going to meet General Breckinridge, had left 
Colonel George H. Smith of the 62d Virginia in com- 
mand.* Imboden says that the advance of the Federals 
had been so cautious that he did not believe that Sigel 
would cross the Shenandoah on the 14th. When this 
occurred, however, he galloped back with orders to hold 
the town at all hazards. He found that Colonel Smith 
had admirably disposed his troops. New Market was 
held during the day, and an artillery duel maintained 
with the enemy. On the evening of the 14th, Breckin- 
ridge ordered Imboden to continue falling back, hoping 
thus to lure Sigel on to attack the Confederate Army 
in some strong position south of New Market. In this 
he failed, for, by morning of the 15th, the Federal forces 
had occupied the town, and from thence advanced no 
farther, except that the skirmish line was sent a little 
to the south. That Breckinridge still desired to be at- 
tacked is shown by the fact that he ordered Imboden 
forward to charge the enemy and then retreat, hoping 

♦Colonel Smith was graduated from the Institute in the Class of '53. 

300 The Military History of 

thus to lure them into a pursuit. Imboden tried it a 
number of times, but in vain. That being so, Breckin- 
ridge, true to the plan which he had so far followed, 
took the initiative once more, and made ready for attack 
on the enemy in their own position."* 

"An hour past midnight the sound of hoofs upon 
the pike caught my ear, and in a few moments the 
challenge of the sentry summoned me. The newcomer 
was an aide-de-camp bearing orders for Colonel Shipp 
from the commanding General. When I aroused the 
Commandant he struggled up, rubbed his eyes, muttered 
something about moving at once, and ordered me to 
arouse the camp without having the drums beaten. 
Orders to fall in were promptly given, rolls were rattled 
off, the Battalion formed, and we debouched upon the 
pike, heading in the darkness and mud for New 

Before taking up the march the Commandant re- 
quested Colonel GiUiam, who had accompanied the 
Corps as a representative of the Superintendent, to de- 
liver a prayer, but Colonel Gilham suggested that 
Captain Preston be called upon to do this. A cadet who 
was present describes the incident as follows: 

"Before the command to march was given, a thing 
occurred which made a deep impression upon us all — 
a thing which even now may be a solace to those whose 
boys died so gloriously that day. In the gloom of the 
night. Captain Frank Preston, neither afraid nor 
ashamed to pray, sent up an appeal to God for His pro- 
tection of our little band; it was an humble, earnest 
petition that sunk into the heart of every hearer. F(;w 
were the dry eyes, little the frivolity, when he had ceased 
to speak of home, of father, of mother, of country, of 
victory and defeat, of life, of death, of eternity. Captain 
Preston had been an oiScer in Stonewall Jackson's com- 
mand; had lost an arm at Winchester; was on the re- 
tired list; and was sub-professor of Latin, and tactical 
officer of B Company; those who, a few hours later, 

•The New Market Campaign, Bdward Raymond Turner. 

The Virginia Military Institute 301 

saw him commanding his company in the thickest of the 
fight, his ah-eady empty sleeve attesting that he was no 
stranger to the perilous edge of battle, realized fully the 
beauty of the hnes which tell that 'the bravest are the 
tenderest, the loving are the daring,' 

"Day broke gray and gloomy upon us toiling onward 
in the mud. The sober course of our reflections was 
reUeved by the light-heartedness of the veterans. We 
overtook Wharton's Brigade, with smiling 'Old Gabe,' 
hke Echols, a Virginia Military Institute 'boy,' at their 
head. They were squatting by the roadside cooking 
breakfast as we came up. With many good-natured 
gibes they restored our confidence; they seemed as 
merry, nonchalant, and indifferent to the coming fight 
as if it were their daily occupation. A tall, round- 
shouldered fellow, whose legs seemed almost spht up 
to his shoulder-blades, came among us with a pair of 
shears and a pack of playing cards, offering to take 
our names and cut love-locks to be sent home after we 
were dead; another inquired if we wanted rosewood 
coffins, satin-lined, with name and age on the plate. In 
a word, they made us ashamed of the depressing 
solemnity of our last six miles of marching, and renewed 
within our breasts the true dare-devil spirit of soldiery. 

"Resuming the march, the mile posts numbered four, 
three, two, one mile to New Market ; then, the movmted 
skirmishers hurried past us to their position at the front. 
We heard loud cheering at the rear, which was caught 
up by the troops along the line of march. We learned 
its import as General John C. Breckinridge and staff 
approached; and we joined heartily in the cheering as 
the soldierly man, moxmted magnificently, galloped 
past, uncovered, bowing, and riding like a Cid. It is 
impossible to exaggerate the gallant appearance of 
General Breckinridge. In stature he was considerably 
over six feet high. He sat his blood-bay thoroughbred 
as if he had been bom on horseback; his head was of a 
noble mould, and a piercing eye and long, dark, droop- 
ing mustache completed a faultless military presence. 

302 The Military History of 

"Deployed along the crest of an elevation in our front, 
we could see our line of mounted pickets and the smoul- 
dering fires of their last night's bivouac. We halted at 
a point where passing a shght turn in the road would 
bring us in full view of the position of the enemy. 
Echols's and Wharton's brigades hurried past us. 
'Forward!' was the word once more, and, turning the 
point in the road. New Market was in full view, and the 
whole position was displayed."* 

Thus did the Corps of Cadets actually arrive on its 
third field of battle ; but this time it was not to be denied 
a glorious reward for the hardships it had borne, though 
dear was the price it paid. 

*End of an Era, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 303 



"The battle of New Market may be divided into 
three parts : first, the struggle between the Confederates 
and the first, or advanced, position of the Federal Army, 
for the most part an artillery duel, lasting for an hour 
or more, just before midday; second, the struggle be- 
tween the advancing Confederates and the larger part 
of the Federal Army posted in the chosen position of 
Bushong's Hill, to the north of the town ; and third, the 
pursuit of the Federal forces to Rude's Hill, and after- 
wards until they had crossed the Shenandoah River. 

"In the arrangement and handling of his troops, 
Breckinridge displayed dexterity and judgment. While 
yet upon Shirley's Hill, he marched and counter- 
marched his men in sight of the enemy, with the pur- 
pose, it would seem, of magnifying his numbers. 
Having made his army seem more numerous than it 
really was, he completed the deception by arranging his 
troops in three hues. The first line consisted of the 
51st Virginia Regiment (Lieutenant-Colonel Wolfe), 
and the 30th Virginia Battahon and 62d Virginia Regi- 
ment (Colonel George H. Smith), these regiments be- 
ing under the command of Brigadier-General Gabriel C. 
Wharton ; the second hne was made up of the 22d Vir- 
ginia Regiment (Colonel George S. Patton), and the 
23d Virginia Battalion (Lieutenant-Colonel Clarence 
Derrick) ; the third and last line comprised the 26th 
Virginia Battahon (Lieutenant-Colonel George M. 
Edgar) , and the Cadets of the Virginia Military Insti- 
tute (Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp)."* 

"The battle began with the firing of artillery and the 
advance of the Confederate skirmishers, the 30th Vir- 

•Smlth, V. M. I., '53 ; Wharton, V. M. I., '47 ; Patton, V. M. I., '52 ; Edgar, 
V. M. I., '56; Shlpp, V. M. I., '59; Echols, V. M. I., '43. 

304 The Military History of 

ginia Battalion of . Colonel Lyle Clarke, and sharp- 
shooters, who gradually drove in the Federal skirmishers 
from their advanced position to the south of New 
Market. Meanwhile some of the Confederates were en- 
gaged in throwing up a hasty breastwork of rails, brush, 
and earth, at right angles to the pike, so that there might 
be a line back of which to rally in case of need."* 

As the Corps of Cadets came upon the field, a thrill- 
ing panorama spread out before it."** 

"It was Sunday morning at eleven o'clock. In a 
picturesque little Lutheran churchyard, under the very 
shadow of the village spire and among the white tomb- 
stones, a six-gun battery was posted in rear of the in- 
fantry lines of the enemy. Firing over the heads of 
their own troops, that battery opened upon us the 
moment we came in sight. 

"Away off to the right, in Luray Gap, we could see 
our Signal Corps telegraphing the position anjd numbers 
of the enemy. Our cavalry was galloping to the cover 
of the creek to attempt to turn the enemy's left flank. 
Echols's Brigade, moving from the pike at a double- 
quick by the right flank, went into line of battle across 
the meadow, its left resting on the pike. Simul- 
taneously, its skirmishers were thrown forward at a run, 
and engaged the enemy. Out of the orchard and on the 
meadows, puff after puff of blue smoke rose as the 
sharpshooters advanced, the pop, pop, pop of their rifles 
ringing foi-th excitingly. Thundering down the pike 
came McLaughlin with his artillery. Wheeling out 
upon the meadows, he swung into battery, action left, 
and let fly with all his guns. 

"The cadet section of artillery pressed down the pike 
a Uttle farther, turned to the left, toiled up the slope in 
front of us, and, going into position, delivered a plung- 
ing fire in reply to the Federal battery (Von Kleiser's) 
in the graveyard. We counted it a good omen when, 
at the first discharge of our little guns, a beautiful blue- 
white wreath of smoke shot upward and hovered over 


•*End of an Bra, J. S. Wise. 

The Vikginia Military Institute 305 

them. The town, which a moment before had seemed to 
sleep peaceably upon that Sabbath morning, was now 
wrapped in battle-smoke and was swarming with troops 
hurr3nng to their positions. We had their range beauti- 
fully. Every shell hit some obstruction, and exploded 
in the streets, or on the hillsides. Every man in our 
army was in sight. Every position of the enemy was 
plainly visible. His mmibers were uncomfortably 
large; for, notwithstanding his line of battle already 
formed seemed equal to our own, the pike beyond the 
town was still filled with his infantry."* 

"The Federal forces in their first, or advanced, posi- 
tion, in and about New Market, were commanded by 
Colonel Augustus Moor, and consisted of the 1st New 
York Cavalry; the cavalry of Colonel John E. Wyn- 
koop, numbering about 300, and made up of detach- 
ments of the 15th New York, 20th Pennsylvania, and 
22d Pennsylvania ; the 34th Regiment of Massachusetts 
Infantry, Colonel George D. Wells; the 1st West Vir- 
ginia, Lieutenant-Colonel Jacob Weddle; and the 123d 
Ohio Regiment, Major Horace Kellogg. There were 
also two sections of Battery B, Snow's Maryland 
Artillery, comprising four guns."** 

The Cadet Battahon was deployed under cover of the 
rear crest of Shirley's Hill, by the left flank from the 
pike, and, moving out at double-quick, was soon in line 
of battle, with its right resting near the road, and con- 
cealed from the enemy by the crest of the hill in front. 
It was while in this position that General Breckinridge 
with his staff rode by and gave the Commandant of 
Cadets his orders to the effect that his command would 
form the reserve, and suggested that he dismoimt, as 
that was what all the field-ofilcers would do. The Com- 
mandant then took occasion to express his hope that 
the cadets, after so much marching and so many 
previous disappointments, would not be denied a chance 
to take part in the action. Whereupon, the command- 

•Consult map of battlefield from now on. 


306 The Military History of 

ing general said he did not wish to expose them un- 
necessarily, but would use them very freely, were de- 
velopments such as to justify it. 

"The command was given to strip for action; knap- 
sacks, blankets — everything but guns, canteens and 
cartridge boxes was thrown upon the grotind. Every 
lip was tightly drawn, every cheek pale, but none with 
fear. With a peculiar, nervous jerk, we pulled our 
cartridge boxes round to the front, laid back the flaps, 
and tightened belts. Whistling rifled shells screamed 
over us, as tipping the hill crest in our front, they 
bounded past."* 

Under the accurate and effective fire of the Con- 
federate guns. Von Kleiser's Battery was soon com- 
pelled to withdraw from the graveyard up the pike. 
"The 18th Connecticut Regiment had now come up to 
Moor's assistance, and, shortly after, Major-General 
Stahel with the remainder of the cavalry. There was 
some fighting in the streets of New Market and about 
the town, but shortly after noon. General Sigel arrived 
upon the scene and decided to form his lines upon the 
hill (Bushong's) north of the town. Accordingly, the 
Federal troops abandoned their first position. This 
part of the engagement was followed by heavy artillery 
firing on both sides, which lasted for some time, but did 
comparatively little damage."* 

The Confederate Artillery consisted of Chapman's 
Battery, two 6-pounder guns and four 12-pounder 
howitzers; two sections of Jackson's Battery, four 6- 
pounder guns ; McClannahan's six 3-inch rifles ; and the 
Cadet 3-inch rifled section under Cadet Collier H. 
Minge of A Company, all under the command of Major 
William McLaughlin. This was the first time a cadet 
had commanded the artillery of the Corps in the field, 
Captain Semmes, or Captain T. H. Smith, having been 
detailed in charge of the section by the Commandant on 
previous occasions. 

•End of an Era, J. S. Wise. This is an error. Tlie Battalion did not strip 
for action at this point as we shall see. 

The Virginia Military Institute 307 

The second stage of the battle was marked by the 
advance of the Confederates, between 1 and 2 p. m., to 
the attack of the new Federal position on Bushong's 

As the original Confederate left and center which had 
been formed on the face of Shirley's Hill pressed for- 
ward, the 26th Battahon moved from the third into the 
second line, forming on the left of the 62d Regiment, 
leaving the cadets alone in the third line as reserve. As 
the attack developed, the 26th Battalion, due to the wid- 
ening of the front and the contraction of the line of 
battle towards the center, worked its way into the first 
line on the left of the 51st Regiment, and moved along 
Indian Hollow next to the river. 

"Up to this time, although the Cadet Artillery had 
done good service in helping to silence the Federal 
battery in New Market, the Cadet Corps had taken 
no part, but had been held in the rear. . . . Now, 
however, when the Confederate commander marshalled 
his scanty numbers, it was impossible for him to spare 
any of his forces, and the cadets were ordered to the im- 
mediate rear of the main lines, so that as the army went 
forward they also came under fire. This order they had 
awaited eagerly, as there were few of them who did 
not burn to take part in the fight."* 

" 'At-ten-tion-n-n! Battalion forward! Guide Cen- 
ter-r-r,' shouted Shipp, and up the slope we started. 
From the left of the line, Sergeant-Major Woodbridge 
ran out and posted himself forty paces in advance of the 
colors, as directing guide, as if we had been upon the 
drill-ground. That boy would have remained there, 
had not Shipp ordered him back to his post; for this 
was no dress parade. Brave Evans, standing six feet 
two, shook out the colors that for days had hung limp 
and bedraggled about the staff, and every cadet leaped 
forward, dressing to the ensign and thrilling with the 
consciousness that this was war. 


308 The Military History of 

"Moving up to the hill crest in our front, we were 
abreast of our smoking battery, and uncovered to the 
range of the enemy's guns. We were pressing towards 
him at 'arms port', moving with the hght, tripping gait 
of the French infantry. The enemy's veteran artillery 
soon obtained our range, and began to drop shells under 
our very noses along the slope. Echols's Brigade rose 
up, and was charging on our right front with the well- 
known rebel yell. 

"Down the green slope we went, answering the wild 
cry of our comrades as their muskets rattled in opening 
volleys. 'Double time!' shouted Shipp, and we broke 
into a long trot. In another moment, a pelting rain of 
lead would fall upon us from the blue line in our 
front."* In a few minutes a shell from one of Carlin's 
guns on Bushong's Hill burst just in front of the line, 
and Captain A. Govan Hill, Tactical Officer of C 
Company, and four cadets. Corporal Wise, J. S., D 
Co., Private Woodlief , P. W., Jr., B Co.,- and Privates 
Merritt, J. L., and Read, C. H., Jr., of C Co., were 
struck to the groxmd. 

Breckinridge's left and center were now in echelon, 
with its left against the river bluff, slightly overlapping, 
and several hundred yards in advance of the left of the 
center echelon, the right of which extended toward the 
pike. As the Corps of Cadets moved forward from 
vmder the cover of Shirley's Hill and down its forward 
face, it found itself well behind the left of the rear 
echelon, but rapidly closed up the distance as it swung 
forward down Shirley's Hill. Across the turnpike, be- 
yond the center, or the second echelon, were the 23d and 
18th Virginia Regiments, McNeill's Rangers, two 
sections of McClannahan's Battery, and various small 
detachments of Imboden's Cavalry, while McLaughlin 
moved forward along the pike abreast of the battle 
line, with the fourteen guns under his immediate com- 
mand, firing from successive positions. 

•End of an Era, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 309 

In the first stage of the battle, then, Breckinridge 
formed his line as follows : 

51st Va., 30th Va., 62d Va. Artillery, 

22d Va., 23d Va. 
26th Va., Cadets. 

Upon moving to the attack of Bushong's Hill, the 
following formation was taken up : 

51st Va., 30th Va., 62d Va. 


26th Va., 22d Va., Artillery, 

(4 guns), 23d Va., 18th Va. Cavalry, 

The Federals had occupied a position of great natural 
strength along the brow of Bushong's Hill, with the 
right resting on the precipitous wooded river bluff, and 
the left resting near the pike and partly protected by 
thick cedar thickets and woods occupying the space be- 
tween the pike and Smith's Creek, and extending on be- 
yond to the base of the steep moimtain side. The field 
of fire to the front was almost unobstructed from right 
to left, and stone fences afforded partial cover for the 
infantry. The approach to the Federal center was 
across a large wheat field, deep with mud. In front 
of the left center were numerous scattered scrub cedars. 

Four himdred yards to the front of his main position, 
Sigel placed the 123d Ohio and 18th Connecticut, of 
Moor's Brigade, the left of the former resting on the 
pike and the latter prolonging the hne to its right ; Von 
Kleiser's 30th New York Battery, with six 12-poimder 
Napoleons, took position across the pike, and abreast 
of Moor's right. 

In the second, or main line, D Battery, 1st West Vir- 
ginia, Captain John Carhn, and B Battery, Maryland, 
Captain Alonzo Snow, each with six 3-inch rifled guns, 
occupied the high ground near the river bluff ; and, then, 
in order, to the left were posted the 34th Massachusetts, 

310 The Military History of 

the 1st West Virginia, the 54ith Pennsylvania, G 
Battery, 1st West Virginia, Captain C. T. Ewing, with 
four 3-inch rifles. A company of the 34th Massachusetts 
was assigned as a support for Carhn's and Snow's 
Batteries; the 12th West Virginia was held in reserve, 
some distance behind the artillery group, and Stahel's 
cavalry guarded the left rear, beyond the pike and over 
by Smith's Creek. The 28th and 116th Ohio Regiments 
were near Mount Jackson, and B Battery, 5th U. S. 
Artillery, Captain H. A. du Pont, remained in position 
at the crossing of the river. 

No sooner did the Confederate infantry come into the 
open than the well-served Federal batteries opened 
upon it with vigor and accuracy. But the echelons 
moved forward rapidly, while Imboden reconnoitered a 
route by which to move his cavalry across Smith's Creek, 
under cover of the thicket intervening between Stahel's 
Cavalry and the extreme Confederate right. Finding 
such a path, Imboden led the 18th Virginia Cavalry and 
McClannahan's four guns down the Luray road over 
the creek; and, from the crossing under cover of a low 
hill, he gained a position immediately upon Stahel's left 
flank. At this point, the guns were unlimbered and 
opened a rapid fire at short range upon the opposing 
horsemen beyond the creek; whereupon, the Federal 
Cavalry retired in haste. McClannahan now opened a 
long range enfilading fire upon Von Kleiser's Battery 
and Moor's left near the pike, which was most discon- 
certing, as such a fire is well calculated to be. 

In the meantime, the Confederate infantry west of 
the pike had resolutely pressed forward, and now drove 
Sigel's advanced line, under Moor, from its position. 
The regiments composing this line fled precipitately 
upon the approach of the Confederates, carrying con- 
fusion to those posted at the main position, and Von 
Kleiser was compelled to limber up with his battery, 
which had inflicted severe loss upon the assailants. The 
23d Virginia Battalion now occupied the space between 
the pike and the creek, beyond which Imboden's Cavalry 

The Virginia Military Institute 311 

and McClannahan's two sections remained. The Con- 
federate right and center had reached a point just be- 
yond Moor's abandoned position, and ahnost abreast 
of the Bushong House, in rear of which stood an 
orchard. West and north of the orchard was the large 
wheat field extending from the house to the main 
artillery group. By the time the main Confederate line 
reached Moor's abandoned position, the cadet battalion 
had descended the north face of Shirley's HiU, and was 
under cover in the deep ravine running westward from 
New Market. Here the battalion halted for some time, 
stripped for action, and filled canteens at a spring be- 
side the road. 

Before progressing to the third stage of the action, 
Breckinridge, perceiving the enemy's artillery position 
to be the key of Sigel's whole hne, reinforced the first 
echelon with the 26th Virginia Battalion, which he 
moved from the left of the rear echelon to the left of 
the 51st Virginia. In the subsequent advance, the 51st 
and 26th Virginia moved to the left of a wooded tongue 
of highland which jutted forward from the bend of the 
river abreast of the Bushong House, parallel to, and at 
a distance of half a mile from, the pike. 

With the 23d Battalion extended in line of skir- 
mishers, supported by McLaughlin's guns holding the 
cavalry of the Federal left at bay, Breckinridge now 
ordered the final assault. 

As the line advanced, the 26th Battalion moved for- 
ward along Indian Hollow on the left of the 51st Regi- 
ment beyond the wooded hill; but the flat narrowed so 
rapidly it was soon compelled to follow the 51st. Pro- 
tected by the wood and the high groimd at first, the 
51st Regiment finally reached open ground, where it 
met a galling fire from the sharpshooters on the river 
bluff, from Carlin's and Snow's guns, and the company 
of the 34th Massachusetts supporting them. Here, 
farther advance was checked. Meantime, Colonel 
Patton with the 22d Virginia and the 62d Virginia, like 
the regiments on the left, had been checked and his 

312 The Military History of 

men were lying under cover of a deep fold in the ground 
between the Bushong House and the pike. 

It has been shown how the Confederate center and 
left had been brought to a standstill. We shall now take 
the words of Dr. Turner as to what happened, and the 
reader, if he be a soldier, will reach his OAvn conclusion 
as to the importance of the part played by the Corps of 

"It appeared as though Breckinridge had been over- 
bold and had run upon disaster. The enemy was im- 
shaken ; there was a break in the Confederate line, and 
some of the men were beginning to rush away to the 
rear. It was at this critical jtmcture that the cadets, 
who had been appointed to act as a reserve, moved for- 
ward into the forefront of the contest and filled up the 
gap. They took position between the 51st Virginia 
Regiment and part of the 30th Battalion, which was 
fighting with (and on the left of) the 62d Virginia. 
They had now become part of the first line of battle. 

"The movements of the cadets at this time are known 
somewhat in detail. They had preserved their order 
splendidly during the heavy cannon fire, and had 
pressed forward in such beautiful alignment as to excite 
the admiration of all who saw them. It was remarked 
by a Southern officer who watched them from a point 
of vantage that they kept their course as if marching 
on dress parade. After ascending the hill at the base 
of which they had halted, they came to an open field, 
muddy from the rains and exceedingly difficult to cross. 
A slight confusion was caused by the ends (wings) of 
the Battalion advancing faster than the center and so 
beyond it, thus causing the hne hitherto straight to be- 
come curved ; but here was displayed admirable coolness 
and discipline, for, in the midst of a terrible artillery 
fire, the line soon rectified, after which they proceeded 
in as perfect order as before.* 

•In advancing from the ravine the Battalion was now and then protected 
by folds in the ground from the direct Are of the enemy. From the ravine 
to the close of the Bushong House is about half a mile. The cadets were 
exposed to direct fire the last half of this distance, losing three Itilled at 
this stage of their advance, the number including First Sergeant Cabell of 
D Co., and Privates Stanard and McDowell of B Co. 

The Virginia Military Institute 313 

"At the edge of the field was a frame house with other 
buildings, known by the name of the owner, Bushong. 
Beyond was an orchard, and then a plateau, which 
formed the top of the hill, and which was also an open 
field. When the house was reached, the cadets divided. 
Companies A and B passing to the right. Companies C 
and D to the left. After the line was reformed on the 
other side, they foimd the grimmest part of their task 
before them; and it was here that their most terrible 
losses occurred. From the Federal position beyond, the 
artillery had perfect range, and poured in a fire of 
canister and slu-apnel, incessant and terrific. Moreover, 
the distance was now short, and masses of Federal 
infantry played upon them with incessant volleys. Ac- 
cordingly, for a time the advance was halted." 

It was at this point of the advance, after he had cor- 
rected the ahgnment of the BattaUon by marking time, 
just beyond the Bushong House, that the Commandant, 
always in front, was struck on the left shoulder by a 
heavy but spent fragment of shell, and literally swept 
from his feet. For a time he was apparently stvmned, 
though he was not wounded except very shghtly in the 
face, probably by a tiny piece of shell. 

"The position of Sigel's Army was so well chosen, 
and so well defended, that for a while it seemed im- 
possible to force it. During some time the Confederate 
advance was checked, and certain regiments were rolled 
back and thrown into confusion. The front lines melted 
away under the terrific fire. Echols's men were still 
occupied on the right ; some of Wharton's command fell 
into disorder. From the Federal lines, the tide of battle 
seemed to be rimning strongly against the Confederates. 
Sigel afterwards described this part of the action as a 
very sharp conflict, in which the enemy charged re- 
peatedly and with determination, but were as often re- 
pulsed by the bravery and coolness of his infantry on 
the right. It is the opinion of an officer who watched 
the struggle that had Sigel hurled his cavalry into the 
opening in the advancing line, that is, between the 51st 

314 The Military History or 

and 62d regiments, at this critical moment, the Con- 
federates would have been put to total route."* 

It is well here to note what had happened to the 
Federal Cavalry. Not only had Stahel been compelled 
to retire his command out of range of McClannahan's 
gtms, but it had been severely pxinished by McLaugh- 
lin's artillery earlier in the day, and was in no condition 
to be massed in the open. Cavalry simply can not with- 
stand the fire of artillery, nor is it expected to do so. 
It was created for other work, and must leave the 
infantry to face the guns. When the Confederate right 
reached the town, the men became somewhat disordered 
in the streets, and, seeing their confusion, Stahel formed 
some of his men in columns of platoons, on the pike 
north of the town, and ordered them forward at the 
gallop to clear it of the Confederates. He had failed 
to observe McLaughlin's advance with the infantry, and 
as the troops pressed up the pike, the men of Derrick's 
command scrambled to the sides of the road and gave 
the gtms a clear field of fire. 

"Heavens! what a blizzard McLaughlin gave them I 
They staggered, wheeled and fled. The road was filled 
with fallen men and horses. A few riderless steeds came 
galloping towards our lines, neighed, circled and re- 
joined their comrades. One daring fellow, whose horse 
became unmanageable, rode straight at our battery at 
full speed, passed beyond, behind, and around our line, 
and safely rejoined his comrades — cheered for his 
courage by his enemies. This was the end of the cavalry 
in the fight."** 

After this incident, Stahel held his cavalry im- 
mediately in rear of the Federal left, until Imboden's 
enfilade fire compelled it to be again retired, as has 
been shown. 


**End of an Era, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 315 



Returning to the stage of the main conflict in which 
the Confederate line of battle was shown to have reached 
a point from which it seemed unable to advance, let us 
again quote Turner: 

"It is known now that the Southern soldiers stood 
their ground stoutly. Where the wavering was at its 
worst, most of them seem to have held their own under 
the cannonade ; and from what has come down concern- 
ing this stage of the battle, the conduct of the several 
divisions (commands) seems to have been replete with 
heroic incidents. Nevertheless, here was a moment of 
greatest danger. 

"When the cadets reformed their line on the north 
side of Bushong's house, they filled in the gap between 
the 51st Virginia Regiment on their left and the 52d 
Virginia Regiment, with the attached companies of the 
30th Virginia Battahon, on their right. They were in 
the van of the battle, and at one time seem to have been 
in advance of the other commands. To each side their 
comrades were suffering heavily, especially the 62d Vir- 
ginia, to the right. While the veterans around them 
were wavering, they also suffered fearfully from the 
combined artillery and musketry fire. The young 
soldiers were falling right and left, and for a while it 
seemed that they could go no farther. 

"This was one of the most critical moments in the 
battle of New Market. Breckinridge was in danger of 
defeat. He had boldly taken the aggressive, and, so 
far, success had attended his efforts, for he had pushed 
a portion of the Federal Army out of New Market, and 
his right wing had driven back the Federal left, while 
Imboden had gained a position on the Federal flank. 

316 The Military Histoey of 

But Imboden's men were practically useless where they 
were, and the town was untenable so long as the Federal 
forces remained on the heights beyond. To drive them 
out, Breckinridge had launched all his remaining 
strength in a frontal attack, and this attack seemed to 
be meeting with failure. On the right, Echols's com- 
mands (22d Regiment, Col. Patton, and 23d Battalion, 
Major Derrick) had made little progress; on the left, 
Wharton's men had advanced farther to within strik- 
ing distance of the enemy, but, with the exception of 
the 26th Battalion, had suffered so heavily as to be com- 
pelled to fall back. 

"It was at this deadly moment that the cadets of the 
Virginia Military Institute pushed out into the orchard 
beyond Bushong's House"* 

Here, let us interpolate that Colonel Edgar (whose 
26th Virginia Battalion had been crowded out of the 
front line on the left of the 51st before the latter came 
out into the open on the crest of the wooded tongue of 
highland, beyond which it had progressed to a point 
several hundred yards short of the Bushong House) 
was now leading his men up out of Indian Hollow to 
Wharton's line, to the left and rear of the cadets.** 

The 62d Virginia had been compelled to fall back 
slightly, and seeing its movement to the rear, Sigel had 
ordered Von Kleiser's Battery (which Imboden, Der- 
rick and McLaughlin had driven from the town) into 
action on the summit of Bushong's Hill, at the very 
northern end of the wheat field and opposite the cadets, 
for that was the very key-point of the Federal position. 
While the Corps of Cadets was yet moving into position 
behind the fence forming the northern boundary of the 
orchard and the southern boundary of the wheat field, 
Woodson's company of Missourians moved forward 
again from the left of the 62d Virginia, and heroically 
assailed Von Kleiser's Battery. But while their ac- 
curate musketry fire temporarily drove the cannoneers 

•Turner, p. 81. 

♦•See Turner, pp. 50-Sl. 

The Virginia Military Institute 817 

from their places, their numbers were inadequate to the 
task they had essayed, and their heroism only led to the 
annihilation of the gallant company which lost six killed 
and 54 wounded, out of a total of 76 men, in a few 

By this time, the cadets had reached the cover of the 
fence, and Von Kleiser's guns resumed their fire. 
Woodson's effort, of course, had had no effect upon the 
fire of Carhn's and Snow's batteries, which had fired 
continuously upon the cadets while moving past the 
Bushong House and through the orchard. 

"Close to them (cadets) now was Sigel's Army shoot- 
ing from the fences and cedar groves, while nearer stiU 
were the Federal batteries which had already wrought 
such havoc in the advancing hnes. The cadets seemed 
to have rushed into certain destruction. The artillery 
concentrated upon them its fire, continuous and terrific, 
hurling shells into the orchard and tearing the trees to 
pieces. Their Commandant, Lieutenant-Colonel Shipp, 
was wounded by a piece of shell; whereupon, there be- 
gan a wavering and confusion among them. Some one 
gave the order to he down. They obeyed, and began 
firing from the ground, crouching behind a worm fence 
along the northern edge of the orchard. But the firing 
of the cannon in front of them continued with fearful 
effect, until at last the cry arose that they should fall 
back and rally on the veterans to the rear. Fortunately, 
this was not done, but the cadets continued to fire from 
their exposed position, though all the while they were 
being riddled."* 

"The men were falling right and left. The veterans 
on the right of the cadets seemed to waver. Colonel 
Shipp went down. For the first time, the cadets ap- 
peared irresolute. Some one cried out, 'Lie down !' and 
all obeyed, firing from the knee — all but Evans, the 
ensign, who was standing bolt upright, shouting and 
waving the flag. Some one exclaimed, 'Fall back, and 
rally on Edgar's Battalion!' Several boys moved as if 

•Turner, pp. 81-82. Parentheses are the writer's. 

318 The Military History or 

to obey. Pizzini, the first sergeant, of B Company, with 
his Corsican blood at the boiling point, cocked his rifle 
and proclaimed that he would shoot the first man who 
ran. Preston, brave and inspiring in command of B 
Company, smilingly lay down upon his remaining arm, 
with the remark that he would at least save that. 
Colonna, cadet captain of D, was speaking low to the 
men of his company words of encouragement, and 
bidding them shoot close. The Corps was being 

The obvious effect of the resolution of the Corps of 
Cadets in clinging to their advanced position was to 
cause the Federal artillery which had up to this time 
been dividing its attention between the cadets and the 
51st Regiment, on their left, to concentrate on the 
cadets, which relieved the pressure on the 51st Regiment 
and 26th Battalion, to their left rear, thus enabling them 
to reform and engage at an advantage with the infantry 
company of the 34th Massachusetts supporting the 
Federal artillery group. The men of this company had 
been thrown out as sharpshooters along the wooded bluff 
overhanging the river, on the extreme Confederate left 
and on the right of the Federate batteries. 

"At this opportune moment (the crisis of the cam- 
bat), when victory seemed within his reach, Sigel 
launched the counter-attack upon the enemy before him. 
The 34th Massachusetts with the adjoining regiments 
(forming the line to the left of the batteries at the north 
end of the wheat field and beyond the scrub cedars be- 
tween the wheat field and the turnpike) sprang forward 
at the 51st, the cadets, and the 62d. Had the charge 
been well directed and firmly pressed, it might have de- 
cided the day. The 54th Pennsylvania fought well, but 
was forced to retreat (by the 22d Virginia on the right 
of the 62d Virginia), while the 1st West Virginia 
suffered heavily (at the hands of the 62d Virginia and 
the right wing of the Cadet Battalion), and halted al- 
most at once. The 34th Massachusetts, however, 

♦End of an Bra, J. S. Wise. Observe how this account corresponds almost 
exactly with Turner's. It was written years before the latter. 

The Vibginia Military Institute 319 

charged down nearly to the fence, behind which the 
cadets had their position. Could they have done this 
somewhat earlier, before the cadets occupied the gap, 
they would have found the place unoccupied, and it 
may be would have broken the Confederate line. This 
was where the cadets did their best service. With the 
men to the right and left of them, they held the place 
with stubborn resolution (the troops on their flanks 
were in rear of their position), and after a sharp 
struggle the 34th was driven back to the position which 
it had left just before."* 

Again describing the crisis of the combat and Sigel's 
counterstroke, Turner says: 

"As a matter of fact, however, the Federal success 
was only temporary. The Confederates were not de- 
morahzed ; except for the heavy artillery fire from both 
sides, there was for a short time a lull in the battle in 
this part of the field. The Confederate line was being 
strengthened and rectified once more. (Edgar was 
moving the 26th Battalion up to the line of the 51st 
Virginia, the cadets were moving up into the gap, and 
the 62d on their right, having fallen back to sUght cover, 
was being reformed) . 

"The men of the 62d were undaimted by the disaster 
which had just occurred. Indeed they had retired 
partly for the purpose of waiting until the other com- 
mands should come up with them. (The truth is, they 
were unable to remain in the open in advance, and were 
compelled to seek cover in a hollow in their rear, until 
their flanks were prolonged by the cadets on the left 
and the 22d Virginia on their right) . The gap between 
the 62d and 51st was being filled by the cadets in the 
course of a brilliant movement. To the left, the 51st 
had recovered its order (due to shifting of the fire of the 
Federal batteries upon the cadets), and was ready to 
go forward again. To the right of the 62d, the 22d 
Regiment, under Colonel Patton, was hastening up to 

•Turner, p. 53. The italics and parentlietical remarks are those of the 
writer and not of Turner. 

320 The Miijtaky History of 

complete the line. (His position was between the hol- 
low in which the 62d lay under cover of the ground, and 
the turnpike, abreast of Imboden's position beyond the 
bend in the creek, which at this point was about 500 
yards east of the turnpike. The interval on his right 
was occupied by Derrick's 23d Battalion, while 
McLaughlin's artillery occupied positions on the high 
ground along the pike some 400 yards in rear of the 
22d and 23d, and engaged Ewing's Battery, east of the 
pike on the Federal left, at a range of 800 yards, and 
Snow's, Carlin's, and Von Kleiser's batteries, obliquely 
to the left, at a range of about 1,000 yards. 

"This was the time chosen by Sigel for the Federal 
coimtercharge. Perhaps it had no chance to succeed, 
although the result might have been different had this 
charge been made immediately after the repulse of the 
Confederates, and had the Federal left been holding 
its own. (By repulse is meant the confusion of the 51st, 
on the extreme left, when it emerged into the open, after 
ascending and crossing the wooded hill, and the falling 
back of the 62d to the hollow.) 

"Now, there was little hope. As the Federal soldiers 
moved down the slope (of Bushong's Hill against the 
51st, Cadets, 62d, and 22d) they were met by a terrible 
fire. Curiously enough, what happened to the Con- 
federates a little before, now befell their opponents. 
The 54th Pennsylvania, and probably the 1st West 
Virginia, halted in confusion, and turned back, leaving 
the 34th Massachusetts (opposite the cadets) to ad- 
vance alone. The men of this command charged 
gallantly toward the fence of Bushong's yard (behind 
which the cadets alone lay), but were repulsed in dis- 
order, partly (wholly?) because of the splendid fighting 
of the cadets. Accordingly, they retreated with heavy 
loss. In some respects, the repulse of Sigel's coimter- 
charge was the critical point in this part of the engage- 
ment, for the tide of battle now changed. (If the tide 
changed, this was certainly the very crisis of the com- 
bat, and, inasmuch as Sigel would have broken the Con- 


Assistant Pkofessou 
Profrssok 1 854-1 SCfi 

The Virginia Military Institute 321 

federate line, had the 34th Massachusetts pressed home, 
the troops which repelled its advance saved the day.) 
The 22d Virginia Regiment, which formed the left of 
the hinder echelon, had now come up upon the right of 
the 62d Virginia. Together they formed a sohd line of 
eight hundred veteran troops. (Here it is to be ob- 
served some of the veteran troops were in the 'hinder 
echelon' when the crisis of the combat was passed, the 
cadets being in the most advanced position.) A for- 
ward movement was begun immediately, leaving the 
shaken Federal troops no time to recover." 

"The cadets also, under Captain Henry A. Wise, and 
the other Professor-Captains (Colonel Shipp, the Com- 
mandant, having been disabled), sprang forward with 
heroic enthusiasm, their boyish cheers arousing the 
veterans on both sides of them. The 51st Virginia, to 
the left of the cadets, had recovered from its earlier 
confusion, and had been fighting vigorously. It also 
took part in the general forward movement; so that, 
substantially, the entire Confederate Army swept up 
toward the Federal position. By this time, Edgar had 
completed his work of turning the Federal right; the 
troops posted along the river had been driven back, and 
the artillery (Snow's and Carlin's batteries) were 
hastening to move off. Over on the left, the Federal 
attack had been repulsed, and there the Confederate 
right was driving the enemy back. In fact, the Federal 
line was breaking up now, and Breckinridge encoun- 
tered no serious resistance. The 54th Pennsylvania, 
and the 1st West Virginia, hotly pressed and in danger 
of being flanked, gave way. The 34th Massachusetts 
was thus left in a perilous position. The 62d and the 
22d were driving away its support, on the left ; the 26th, 
the 51st, and the cadets were driving off the artillery, 
on the right ; while it was being assailed in front by part 
of the Cadet Battalion, the 30th Virginia, and part of 
the 62d. It fought stubbornly and well, and sustained 
heavy losses, but could not retrieve the day. As it was. 


322 The Military History of 

it lacked little of being cut off. Thus, both the right 
and the center of the Federal Army were broken."* 

The movements of the cadets in this charge have been 
graphically described. Turner has shown in the fore- 
going account that they assaulted the position of the 
battery, notwithstanding his doubts, later expressed, as 
to whether they could have done it. The sole question 
is really as to the number of guns they took. A witness 
writes : 

"Manifestly, they, the cadets, must charge or fall 
back. And charge it was; for, at that moment, Henry 
Wise ('Old Chinook', beloved of every boy in the com- 
mand) sprang to his feet, shouted out the command 
to rise up and charge, and, moving in advance of the 
line, led the Cadet Corps forward to the guns. The 
battery was being served supei-bly. The musketry fairly 
rolled, but the cadets never faltered. They reached the 
firm greensward of the farmyard in which the guns 
were planted. The Federal infantry began to break 
and run behind the buildings. Before the order to 
limber up could be obeyed by the artillerymen, the 
cadets disabled the teams, and were close upon the guns. 
The gunners dropped their sponges, and sought safety 
in flight. Lieutenant Hanna hammered a gunner over 
the head with his cadet sword. Winder Garret outran 
another and lunged his bayonet in him. The boys 
leaped upon the guns, and the battery was theirs. 
Evans, the color-sergeant, stood wildly waving the cadet 
colors from the top of a caisson. 

"A straggling fire of infantry was still kept up from 
the gully, now on our right flank (left of 34th Massa- 
chusetts), notwithstanding the masses of blue retiring 
in confusion down the hill. The Battalion was ordered 
to reform, mark time, and half -wheel to the right ; then, 
it advanced, firing into the cedars as it went, and did 
not pause again until it reached the pike, having driven 
the last enemy from the thicket. The broken columns 
of the enemy could be seen hurrying over the hills, and 

*Turner, pp. 56-60. 

The Virginia Military Institute 323 

down the pike towards Mount Jackson, hotly pressed 
by our infantry (22d and 23d) and cavalry."* 

This account seems to be accurate. Turner has al- 
ready stated that in the final charge the cadets assaulted 
Von Kleiser's Battery. Yet, on page 71 of his book we 

"It has usually been asserted that the cadets took Von 
Kleiser's Battery, but they could scarcely have done 
this, since Von Kleiser's Battery was not captured. No 
Federal battery was captured at New Market. Sigel 
lost five or six cannon. Two of these were captured by 
the Confederates from the batteries near the river, while 
another they found afterwards abandoned in a pond. 
Von Kleiser lost two guns, one of which, there is no 
doubt, was taken by the cadets when the Federal line 
gave way, and they may have captured the other. But 
they did not capture a battery."** 

Now, this whole tangle is easy to straighten out. 
Upon the near approach of the cadets. Von Kleiser, see- 
ing that he was xmsupported on his right, from which 
quarter Snow and Carlin had withdrawn their batteries, 
and that the infantry beyond the 34th Massachusetts, 
still supporting him on the left, but obviously unable to 
withstand the assault of the cadet right wing and the 
62d Virginia, ordered his battery to limber up. Four 
of his guns got away, but the other two were taken by 
the cadets who swarmed in among his confused teams 
and cannoneers, as described. When the various writers 
described the capture of the battery, they referred more 
to the seizure of its position, than to the actual number 
of guns taken. The fact that the two contemporaneous 
accounts, the official report of the Commandant and a 
letter of Captain Preston, do not enumerate the number 
of guns actually seized by the cadets does not mean 
they captured no guns. Both writers specifically stated 
the position of the hostile battery was charged and over- 
Tun. The seizure of the guns was in their accounts in- 

*End of an Era, J. S. Wise. 
**Tunier, p. 71. 

324 The Military History of 

eluded in the taking of the position occupied by the 

Turner's lack of perception of these points is clearly 
expressed in the statement which he makes, following 
closely upon his accotint of the action of the cadets in 
filhng the gap, holding their position in advance of the 
Confederate line, when confusion reigned, according 
to his own accotmt, on both sides of them, and repulsing 
the covmtercharge of the 34th Massachusetts, which, he 
says, was the turning point of the battle. 

"Not less exaggerated have been the assertions about 
the result of the action of the cadets. There has been 
a tendency to maintain that they saved the day and won 
the battle, and that Breckinridge acknowledged that 
they had done so. As a matter of fact, there is no 
ground for such assertion, and it is grossly unjust to the 
veteran soldiers who bore the brunt of the fighting. The 
cadets made up about one-sixteenth of the Confederate 
Army, so that it would have been physically impossible 
for them to have turned the tide of battle."* 

This is really pitiful. He has said that if the 34th 
Massachusetts had penetrated the gap, the day would 
have been won for Sigel, and it no doubt would have 
been. Would Turner, in such event, have contradicted 
himself, and said that the 34th Massachusetts could not 
have won the battle, because it was but one-sixteenth of 
Sigel's Army? Since when have the importance of 
tactical maneuvers been measured by the number of men 
engaged in a particular movement? A brigade of 
cavalry in the rear of a line of battle will decide the 
issue, when an army corps is at a standstill in its front. 
Can any one- deny that the Stonewall Brigade won the 
battle of First Manassas? Yet its action there was rela- 
tively very similar to that of the cadets at New 
Market. Dr. Turner is hopelessly lost in the fog which 
he has done more to create than any previous historian 
of the battle. Fortunately, he again contradicts him- 
self, after having declared Mr. Wise's account inac- 

*Turner, p. 72. 

The Virginia Military Institute 325 

curate, for on page 83 he confirms that account abso- 
lutely, and writes : 

"After the fall of Lieutenant-Colonel Shipp, the 
command of the cadets had devolved upon Professor- 
Captain Henry A. Wise. He says that he believed that 
the longer the cadets lay inactive behind the scanty 
shelter under the enemy's fire, the less would be their 
courage, and the more impossible would it be for them 
to do anything. At the moment, it seemed, there were 
two possible courses: either to fall back, as had been 
suggested, or to rise and continue the advance. He 
felt instinctively that this was the decisive moment of 
the battle; and that if the cadets fell back and opened 
a gap in the center of the hne it might mean the loss 
of the day. Moreover, he thought that to fall back imder 
an artillery fire hke that to which they had been sub- 
jected, would entail nearly as much hazard as a 
charge right at the enemy's guns. The chance was a 
terrible one, but he made his decision instantly. His 
comrades still recall how he sprang to his feet and 
shouted the charge. At once, the magnificent training 
of the cadets asserted itself: they rose as a man, got 
over the fence, and moved forward across the field, 
straight for the enemy's gims. (This is what Turner 
seems to think they could not have done, yet he describes 
how they did it ! ) There is no doubt that at this moment 
the 62d and the 22d had begun their charge (on the 
right of the cadets), but the influence of the cadets 
stirred to enthusiasm the adjacent commands (51st, 
30th and 26th) on their left rear, and the whole Con- 
federate line rushed forward. The Federal troops from 
their position saw the movement, and prepared to hold 
their ground. 

"Unfortimately, it is not possible for the historian to 
feel that he can narrate exactly the details of what 
followed, such vivid, contradictory, and exaggerated ac- 
counts have been given. It is probable that some shells 
were bursting over the field as the Corps advanced; but 
they kept their ranks and pressed forward. The in- 

326 The Military History of 

cessant rains of the morning and the day preceding, had 
drenched the whole country. The ground over which 
they were toihng was a wheat field not long since 
ploughed, now sodden, and ankle-deep in mud. At 
times, the cadets found it an heroic task even to drag 
their feet out of the slough into which they sunk, and 
in many cases shoes and even socks were pulled off as 
they struggled along. Furthermore, the rain, which had 
ceased, had ceased only for a while. A black thunder- 
cloud which had gathered hung low, and now, when the 
charge began, burst over the field, in torrents. The air 
was dim with the driving rain and the darkness, and 
murky with the volumes of smoke which drifted along 
the ground; so that it was difficult to see twenty paces 
ahead, save for the lightning flashes and the fire where 
the riflemen were shooting. The elements themselves 
seemed at war."* 

After reading this vivid account, which is undoubt- 
edly correct, it is a simple matter to explain how the 
Cadet Corps was able to traverse the wheat field in the 
face of Von Kleiser's guns. A plunging fire is of all 
others the most inaccurate, especially when the target 
is moving towards the guns. Coupled with this element 
of inaccuracy, were the facts that the gunners could see 
the advancing line but imperfectly; that some of the 
guns must have been limbering up to escape; that it 
took not over two minutes for the Corps to traverse the 
wheat field ; that in that time no gun could have possibly 
fired over five rounds; that fuses were wet and inac- 
curately cut ; that firing that rapidly the pieces could not 
possibly have been accurately laid upon a rapidly-mov- 
ing target, even had the gunners been at target practice, 
instead of laboring under the intense excitement of re- 
pelling an infantry charge — and we have before us facts 
constituting a full explanation of the success of the 
charge. Nothing more is needed. Physically, the deed 
was by no means impossible. On the contrary, it seems 
physically impossible for the battery to have repelled 

•Turner, pp. 83-86. 

The Virginia Military Institute 327 

the charge. Moral factors might have offset the 
physical advantages of the assailants, hut that is just 
what did not happen ; and so the position of the battery 
was reached and overrun. This, Turner himself tells 

"But there was no faltering. The distance to be 
traversed grew less, and soon the audacity of their 
courage told. The Federal soldiers were too much 
shaken, and too hard pressed, to make a stout resistance. 
There was some attempt; but on the cadets came, and 
then at last in the midst of a wavering in the enemy's 
ranks, they dashed up to the Federal lines with wild 
enthusiasm, and shot down the horses of one of the 
guns. There was a brief hand-to-hand struggle, but 
the Federal Army was already giving way. The cadets 
ran here and there capturing prisoners. The color- 
bearer sprang upon the gun carriage and waved his 
flag. The position had been stormed." 

Von Kleiser's Battery went into action immediately 
on the left of Sigel's original artillery group. Just be- 
fore the general charge commenced, the pressure of the 
26th, 51st and Cadet Corps compelled Snow and Carlin 
to limber up and pull out with their batteries, Carlin 
abandoning three of his guns to which he could not get 
his teams without losing them. While the center of 
the Cadet Battahon was overrunning Von Kleiser's 
position, the extreme left swept over the ground 
formerly occupied by Carhn's Battery, and there found 
his abandoned pieces. 

It is possible, of course, that either 51st or 26th had 
already passed Carlin's position (as claims by both for 
the capture of the three pieces have been advanced). 
But what probably happened was the men of these two 
commands mingled with the left wing of the Cadet 
Battahon, reached the gims nearly at the same time, 
and hence each has conscientiously asserted its claim of 
priority. There is nothing strange about that. It had 
happened many times before. But one thing is certain : 
the cadets secured the pieces which they found, as well 

328 The Military History of 

as from 80 to 100 prisoners, a precaution which, it seems, 
the veteran troops (contrary to their custom) failed to 
take. That fact certainly gives the cadets a tremendous 
advantage, in the eye of the military critic. 

Of the charge of the cadets upon Von Kleiser's 
Battery, Major Theodore S. Lang, of Sigel's staff, 
wrote : 

"I must say that I never witnessed a more gallant ad- 
vance and final charge than was given by those brave 
boys on that field. They fought like veterans; nor did 
the dropping of their comrades by the ruthless bullets 
deter them from their mission, but on they came, ravines 
or fences, or shot or shell, were all the same to those 
brave boys, who faltered not until they waved their 
battle flag over the captured battery of Captain Von 

Captain Franklin E. Town, Chief Signal Ofllcer of 
Sigel's Army, wrote: 

"Standing on the crest of this slope, after a short 
time I observed a line forming in the ravine at the foot 
of the hill, which seemed about hke a regiment in ex- 
tent, but so 'smart' and 'natty' in appearance as 
instantly to suggest our own pet 'Seventh Regiment' of 
New York City. They appeared more hke militia on 
parade than troops in campaign. We were soon able 
to identify the command as the Battalion of the Virginia 
Military Institute, and certainly a more soldiery-ap- 
pearing Corps never faced an enemy. 

"After perfecting their alignment, this young regi- 
ment advanced toward our battery. It approached only 
a short distance when it halted and turned back toward 
the ravine. There was no apparent disorder, nor did 
it seem that they were falling back in panic, but rather 
as if by some change of plan, and in pursuance of 

♦This was when, after passing the Bushong House, the Commandant gave the 
command, as shown, to "mark time," and then halted the Battalion behind 
the fence. 

The Virginia Military Institute 329 

"The Battalion remained but a short time in the 
ravine, and again advanced. They came on steadily 
up the slope, swept as it was by the fire of these guns. 
Their line was as perfectly preserved as if on dress 
parade, or in the evolutions of a review. As they ad- 
vanced, our guns played with utmost vigor upon their 
line; at first with shrapnel, then, as they came nearer, 
with canister, and finally, with double loads of canister. 
As the Battalion continued to advance, our gunners 
loaded at the last, without stopping to sponge; and I 
think it would have been impossible to eject from six 
guns more missiles than these boys faced in their wild 
charge up that hill. But still they advanced steadily, 
without any sign of faltering. I saw, here and there, 
a soldier drop from their line and lie where he fell, as 
his comrades closed up the gaps and passed on. Their 
pace was increased from a quick step to a double time, 
and, at the last, to a charge, as through the fire they 
came on, and up to the guns which they surroimded and 
captured; our artillerymen giving away when the 
bayonets, having passed the guns, were at their 

This account was written thirty-four years after the 
event. The fact that the cadets did not seize all the guns 
of the battery does not vitiate the evidence in the mind 
of a soldier. With the smoke and confusion about 
him, watching the charge intently, it was impossible for 
Captain Town to observe everything that happened. 
Four of Von Kleiser's guns may have pulled out at the 
last moment, when an observer was most apt to be seek- 
ing cover. 

"This charge of the cadets upon the Federal position 
at New Market is one of the most remarkable episodes 
of the Civil War, or, indeed, of any war. That a body 
of youths, ranging in age from fourteen to twenty, 
should conduct themselves well in battle would in itself 
have been sufiiciently creditable. But that in the first 

•"An Eye Witness From The Other Side," Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 
24, 1898. 

330 The Military History of 

battle in which they had ever served, they should do 
what they did is almost beyond belief. That, called 
from the quiet seclusion of a military school, they 
should have endured long, fatiguing marches for three 
days (five days?) over muddy roads and miry fields; 
that, wearied with their journey and yet roused from 
their sleep on the night before the battle and sent on- 
ward, they should have chafed at being held in a 
sheltered position, and insisted on pressing forward into 
the front and central part of the battle ; that they should 
have borne their part steadily; that they should have 
stood their ground under a withering fire when veteran 
regiments were hard pressed;* and that, finally, in the 
crisis of the struggle, they should have met the shock 
of the enemy, unmoved ; all of these facts are as astound- 
ing as they are true. The battle of New Market was a 
small battle, and, relatively speaking, the Cadet Bat- 
talion was a mere handful; but what these boys did is 
comparable with what older troops have done in some 
of the most famous battles in the world. It may be that 
the words of incautious admirers have served to cast 
doubt upon their exploits. They did not rally the Con- 
federate Army, or stem a rout, or capture unaided a 
powerful battery under impossible circumstances. But, 
at a critical moment, they did conduct themselves in a 
manner beyond all praise, and what they did had much 
to do with determining the issue of the battle."** 

The foregoing summary displays as amazing a lack 
of famiharity with his subject on the part of the writer, 
as one purporting to contribute a critical narrative to 
history has ever been guilty of. 

In the first place, the average age of the cadets en- 
gaged in the battle of New Market was as great as that 
of the younger Confederate conscripts of 1864. The 
matriculation books would have shown Dr. Turner that 
the average age of the cadets in the battle of New 
Market was very close to seventeen and a half years. 

•Turner has previously declared tlie veterans were in disorder, but lie must 
fit his facts to Us conclusions. 
«* Turner, pp. 86-88. 

The Virginia Military Institute 331 

There were some over twenty-one, numbers over twenty, 
and more over nineteen than under sixteen. 

The quiet seclusion from which the Corps was called 
has been fully set forth in previous chapters. It will 
be recalled that the Corps had not only engaged in the 
severe McDowell campaign in 1862, and hunted de- 
serters in the mountains the following summer, but had 
taken part in three separate expeditions to repel 
Averell's raiding columns in August, November and 
December, 1863, respectively. In December, the Corps 
had spent an entire week in the field in bitterly cold 
weather and rain storms which made the spring showers 
of May 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th, 1864, seem mild 
indeed. In its previous field service marches were made 
which far exceeded those of the New Market campaign, 
both with respect to the hardships encountered and miles 
covered. There was no more comparison between the 
spring marches from Lexington to New Market with 
those of the November and December expeditions, from 
the standpoint of exposure and fatigue, than there 
ordinarily is between a fifteen-mile march over a turn- 
pike, on a mild May day, and an equally long one over 
unimproved mountain dirt roads, in the rain and sleet 
of November and December, poorly shod, lightly 
clothed, and bivouacking in the open, with the ther- 
mometer at the freezing point.* 

From the writer's knowledge of the present-day 
cadet, as compared with the character of men similar 
to those who comprised the rank and file of Breckin- 
ridge's Army, he feels secure in the assertion that the 
well-disciplined and physically fit cadets imder Colonel 
Shipp were able to stand for a short period the experi- 
ences of the New Market campaign better than the 
regular soldiers, and that fewer of them suffered from 
fatigue. Youths of their age and training are not given 
to weariness in a space of four days. Then, there was 
the novelty of the experience to buoy them up and carry 

*I Tenture the assertion that Turner never heard ol these expeditions. In 
the McDowell campaign of 1862 the cadets marched 44 miles one day. 

332 The Military History of 

them on, entirely lacking in the case of the regular 

From the standpoint of morale^ there was, perhaps, 
not a command engaged in either army in any battle 
of the Civil War that compared, man for man, with the 
Corps of Cadets. The overwhelming majority of the 
cadets were born gentlemen, possessing all the instincts 
of courage and daring of their race, cherishing the 
noblest mihtary traditions of the South, and burning 
with all the ardor of youth, after no fewer than four 
previous disappointments, to engage the enemy in bat- 
tle. The Cadet Battahon was a corps of incipient 
officers, most of whom might have commanded regular 
troops, had they chosen, or had they been allowed, to 
join the army. If there were a battalion on earth that 
would have stood the Federal fire and charged Von 
Kleiser's guns on May 15th, it was that one which in- 
spires the wonderment of Dr Turner, for in the Corps 
of Cadets there was not a youth but whose career would 
have been bhghted forever, had he abandoned his colors, 
and the officers who led them were veterans of many 
other fields.* 

Their deeds were heroic, but when we come to study 
them with all the facts, physical and moral, which must 
be taken together to explain military exploits, the latter 
no less important than the former, there was absolutely 
nothing marvelous or verging upon the impossible, in 
them. Had this body of highly trained and socially 
elite youth failed to do what they did, when hundreds 
of country boys no older than themselves, and with none 
of the many social and educational advantages of the 
cadets, were fighting by their sides and on a hundred 
other fields, there would have been something indeed to 
marvel at. 

•The Commandant had served in the distressing West Virginia campaign of 
1861, and had led Jackson's skirmish line in the Bomney campaign, and then 
engaged in the most dangerous of all fighting or the cavalry affairs after the 
Gettysburg campaign. Captain Wise had displayed great heroism at Boanoke 
Island, where he was captured and paroled. Captain Preston had lost an arm 
at Winchester. Captains Boblnson and Hill had seen hard active service In 
the Army. 

The Virginia Military Institute 333 




After the 34th Massachusetts abandoned its position, 
retiring in good order, the pursuit was checked by the 
belated arrival of the 28th and 116th Ohio Regiments, 
and Du Font's Regular Battery, which took up a 
position on Rude's Hill near the river crossing. 

Although a section of McClannahan's Battery, under 
Lieutenant Carter Berkeley, dashed down the pike and 
shelled the fleeing masses, while McLaughlin caused the 
other gvms to fire from successive positions, there were 
no reserves or organized cavalry with which to turn the 
withdrawal into a rout. 

Before the infantry could be reformed and cartridge 
boxes replenished, with a view to the assault of Rude's 
Hill, Sigel had commenced to withdraw his rear guard 
across the river, burning the bridge behind him, after 
crossing over his last troops, and so the fighting came 
to an end about 6 v. m. 

"As evening fell, the clouds passed away, the sun 
came forth; and when night closed in, no sound dis- 
turbed the Sabbath cahn, save that of a solitary Na- 
poleon gun pounding away at the smouldering ruins of 
the bridge." 

The Corps of Cadets had taken part in the general 
pursuit, at the beginning of which it had been rejoined 
by Colonel Shipp, his face streaming with blood from a 
slight wound on the cheek, but sufficiently recovered 
from the stunning blow he had received in the orchard 
to resume command. 

Just before the Corps of Cadets left its position at 
the base of Rude's Hill, where it had been reformed for 
the assault, an officer rode up, some say accompanied 

334 The Military History of 

by his stag, and was saluted by the Battahon, where- 
upon the officer, who was thought to be General Breck- 
inridge, is said to have politely raised his hat and given 
expression to the following words: "Young gentle- 
men, I have to thank you for the result of to-day's 
operations." General Shipp remembers no such inci- 
dent, and General Charles J. Anderson of Richmond, 
a cadet in the battle, positively asserts that the officer 
who made the remark was Major J. Stoddard John- 
ston, Breckinridge's Chief -of -Staff, and that he said: 
"Young gentlemen, General Breckinridge has you to 
thank for the result of to-day's operations." Now the 
truth is the Battalion was extended over a considerable 
distance when in the position at the bottom of Rude's 
Hill. It is, therefore, possible that both the General 
and his Chief -of -Staff passed by the cadets and made 
acknowledgments to them and that all the cadets did 
not see or hear both officers in the general excitement. 
Again, General Anderson's explanation seems a good 
one, that is, Johnston was mistaken for Breckinridge. 
Whoever the officer referred to actually was. General 
Breckinridge subsequently on numerous occasions ex- 
pressed his belief that the action of the cadets exercised 
a decisive influence on the issue of the day. He person- 
ally told the Superintendent that had he not used the 
cadets very freely the result would have been different.* 

When the pursuit was given up the cadet section of 
artillery went into bivouac with the rest of McLaugh- 
lin's command at beautiful Mount Airy, while the main 
body of the Confederate troops bivouacked along the 
pike about a mile below New Market. The cadets were 
allowed to break ranks and seek shelter in the town 
wherever it could be had in order to avoid further ex- 

An inventory of losses now showed Sigel that he had 
lost over 800 of the 6,000 Federals engaged; while 
Breckinridge's loss was about 600 out of an army of 

♦See also Turner, pp. 88-89, lor letters of Colonna, Kirk and Ross. 

The Virginia Military Institute 335 

In the Corps of Cadets the loss was tremendous. 
There were positively not over 279 cadets engaged, in- 
cluding the artillery detachment. There were probably 
fewer, but it can be absolutely demonstrated that there 
were not more. Of this number, 5 were killed outright, 
4 mortally wounded, 48 others wounded, only one slight 
casualty occurring in the artillery detachment. The 
loss was, therefore, over twenty per cent of the com- 

But, in spite of their losses, the camp-fires twinkled 
no more brightly that night than the spirits of the 
dauntless cadets, for, at last, they had been in battle and 
borne themselves with such credit as to have elicited the 
acknowledgments of the Commanding General him- 

"Shortly before sundown, after having my head 
sewed up and bandaged, and having rendered such serv- 
ice as I could to wounded comrades, I sallied forth to 
procure a blanket and see what was to be seen. When 
we stripped for action, we left our traps unguarded; 
nobody would consent to be detailed. As a result, the 
camp followers had made away with nearly all of our 

"I entered the town, and found it filled with soldiers, 
laughing and carousing as light heartedly as if it were a 
feast, or a holiday. In a side street, a great throng of 
Federal prisoners was corralled; they were nearly all 
Germans. Every type of prisoner was there, some 
cheerful, some defiant, some careless, some calm and de- 
jected. One fellow in particular afforded great merri- 
ment by his quaint recital of the manner of his capture. 
Said he, 'Dem leetle tevils mit der vite vlag vas doo 
mutch fur us; dey shoost smash mine head ven I was 
cry zurrender all de time'. A loud peal of laughter 
went up from the bystanders, among whom I recognized 
several cadets. His allusion to the white flag was to our 

'This Is a mistake. Cadet Goodykoontz had been detailed by the Com- 
mandant to remain with the equipment, etc., and stayed with it until the 
morning of the 16th, until which time the fact that he had not been relieved 
was forgotten. 

336 The Military History of 

colors. We had a handsome Corps flag with a white 
and gold ground and a picture of Washington; it dis- 
concerted our adversaries not a little. Several whom I 
have met since then tell me that they could not make us 
out at all, as our strange colors, diminutive size, and 
unusual precision of movement, made them think we 
must be some foreign mercenary regulars.* 

"The jeers and banterings of the veterans had now 
ceased ; we had fairly won our spurs. We could mingle 
with them fraternally, and discuss the battle on equal 
terms; glorious fellows, those veterans were. To them 
was due ninety-nine one-himdredths of the glory of the 
victory, yet they seemed to delight in giving all praise 
to 'dem leetle tevils mit der vite vlag'. The ladies of 
the place also overwhelmed us with tenderness, and as 
for ourselves, we drank in greedily the praise which 
made us the lions of the hour. 

"Leaving the village, we sought the plateau where 
most of our losses had occurred. A httle above the 
town, in the fatal wheat field, we came upon the dead 
bodies of three cadets; one wearing the chevrons of a 
first sergeant lay upon his face, stiff and stark with out- 
stretched arms. His hands had clutched and torn up 
great tufts of soil and grass. His lips were retracted; 
his teeth tightly locked; his face as hard as flint, with 
staring glassy eyes. It was difiicult indeed to recognize 
that this was all that remained of Cabell, who a few 
hours before had stood flrst in his class, second as a 
soldier, and the peer of any boy in the command in 
every trait of physical and moral manliness. A short 
distance removed from the spot where Cabell fell, and 
nearer to the position of the enemy, lay McDowell. It 
was a sight to rend one's heart ! That little fellow was 
lying there asleep, more fit indeed for a cradle than a 
grave; he was about my own age (17), not large, and 
by no means robust. He was a North Carolinian; he 
had torn open his jacket and shirt, and, even in death, 
lay clutching them back, exposing a fair white breast 

•The cadets were not small as a whole, but their tight-fitting jaclsets made 
them appear so then, as they do now, In comparison with other troops. 

The Virginia Military Institute 337 

with its red wound. We had come too late. Stanard 
had breathed his last but a few moments before we 
reached the old farmhouse where the battery had stood, 
now used as a hospital. His body was still warm, and 
his last message had been words of love to his room- 

"A few of us brought up a limber-chest, threw our 
dead across it, and bore their remains to a deserted store- 
house in the village. The next day we buried them with 
the honors of war, bowed down with grief at a victory 
so dearly bought."* 

It should here again he mentioned that of the nine 
cadets who lost their hves in this battle, Cabell, Atwill, 
Crockett, Haynes, Jefferson, Jones, McDowell, 
Stanard and WTieelwright, but five were killed outright, 
Cabell, Crockett, Jones, McDowell, and Standard. At- 
will died of lockjaw, the following week, in Staunton; 
Wheelwright, in Harrisonburg, June 2d; Jefferson, in 
New Market on May 18th, and Haynes, in the 
Powhatan Hotel Hospital, in Richmond, June 15th. 
Until recent years, the fatality of Haynes's woimd had 
not been known. 

In May, 1866, the remains of five cadets killed in the 
battle were removed to Lexington, where they were 
reinterred in the Cadet Cemetery. In 1913, they were 
placed in copper caskets and deposited beneath Ezekiel's 
monvmient, "Virginia Mourning Her Dead," dedicated 
June 23, 1903, as a memorial to the New Market 

*End of an Elra, J. S. Wise. ^ „,,. , ,.^ 

**The bodies of Cadets Atwill, Jones, Jefferson, McDowell, and Wheelwright 

were removed to Lexington In May, 1866, and interred on the second anniversary 

of the battle, May 15th, in the Cadet Cemetery created for the purpose of receiv- 

"^At^ttis time a traditional custom originated which has been carefully pre- 
sel*^ea and continued to the present time. On the 15th of May, the names of 
the nine cadets who lost their lives at the battle of New Market are called by 
the sergeants in the roll of their respective companies at every formation during 
the dav and a cadet, designated in advance for the purpose. Steps two paces 
to the front, salutes, and answers: "Died on the field of honor!" 

This inspiring custom had its origin in France. ,-,,„„ j 

LATOTJK D'AtJVElEGNB entered the military service of France in 1767 and 
loneht with distinction throughout the early years of the Revolution in the 
anmes of the Alps and the Pyrennes. Time and again he distinguished himself 
in battle and was offered promotion, but each time he refused it. As a simple 
captain he led 8,000 grenadiers, known on account of their murderous bayonet 


338 The Military History of 

It is here proper to mention the heroism of a little 
woman of New Market, Eliza Catherine Clinedinst, 
afterwards Mrs. Crim. She was a fair yoimg woman, 
who, amidst the stirring scenes of the Valley, in the oft- 
trodden path of the two armies, worked away faithfully 
in her mother's home at her trade as the village milhner; 
while her sturdy brother, a lieutenant in the "Stonewall" 
Brigade, fought for his country.* 

Many conflicting accounts have been published of 
EMza Clinedinst's heroism during the battle of New 
Market. The writer can not here undertake to correct 
the mistaken versions of her conduct. That she ren- 
dered valiant service in nursing Cadet Jefferson, who 
was carried to her mother's home, is certainly true, but 
she herself denied that she went on the field during the 
battle. She, like the other good women of New Mar- 
ket, did all she could to alleviate the suffering of the 
wounded. It is not disparaging to one to give credit to 
others for what they all did. 

It might be proper to add here that Cadet Thomas 
Garland Jefferson was born January 1, 1847, and was 

cbarges as the Infernal Column. He left the army in 1795, but re-enllsted as 
a. substitute for the only son of an old friend in 1799, and fought with Massena 
In Switzerland. Again he declined promotion, but Napoleon, in 1800, caused 
him to be officially borne on the rolls as the 'First Grenadier of France." He 
was killed on the 22d of June of that year in Bavaria, whereupon the whole 
French army mourned for him three days. His heart was embalmed, placed 
in a silver vase carried by his company, and his saber was placed In the Church 
of the Invalides. Every morning until the close of the Empire, at the roll call 
of his regiment, his name was called and the eldest sergeant replied : "Mort 
sur le champ de I'honneur." 

The writer regards this ceremony at the Institute on the 15th of May as by 
far the most impressive and Inspiring one he has ever witnessed. 

It is impossible to estimate the Influence it exerts upon the emotions and the 
character of the youthful cadet. Having been first sergeant of D Company In 
his Second Class Year, the writer recalls the rivalry which existed among the 
cadets of his company for the honor of answering for D Company's fallen 
heroes. As captain of that same company, a year later, he recalls how he was 
appealed to by those on the sick list, begging that they might slip into ranks to 
be with the colors when the anniversary salute was fired by the Battalion over 
the graves in the Cadet Cemetery. 

Who that has been a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute but can recall 
the hot tear that welled unbidden to the eye in response to the fervent prayer of 
the chaplain on this annual occasion? Is not the memory of Cabell, Atwill, 
McDowell, Stanard, Jefferson, Jones, Crockett, Wheelwright, and Haynes, In- 
delibly burned into the souls of all old cadets? Who of us but can see, standing 
there beside those boyish graves, in the soft evening light of springtime, with 
head uncovered and dampened cheek, the veteran figure of Pendleton, Poague, 
Cutshaw, or Lee himself, when a resident of Lexington? 

How distressed many old cadets will be when they learn that the Cadet 
Cemetery has been abandoned, and that those simple little graves are no longer 
to be seen in the shady grove where for forty-seven years they remained un- 
disturbed. No monument can be half so imposing as were those little clumps of 
sod ; and one of the most touching features of "New Market Day" is gone with 
the graves. 

•John Clinedinst is to-day one of the most respected citizens of New Market, 
and was recently mayor of the town, Clinedinst, the artist, who painted the 
picture of the battle of New Market, is his kinsman. 

The Virginia Military Institute 339 

therefore seventeen years, four months and two weeks 
old at the time of his death. When he was wounded two 
of his comrades fell out of ranks to run to his aid. In 
words which should be made immortal the stricken 
youth said to them: "You can do nothing for me; go 
to the front; there is the place for you!" From the field 
he was conveyed by his comrades to the field hospital 
near the Hupp House, and from thence the next day 
to the residence of Mrs. Clinedinst, where he expired in 
the arms of his comrade. Cadet Corporal Moses Ezekiel, 
who had borne him from the field and niirsed him 
through the weary hours vmtil Wednesday morning, the 
18th of May. 

At the commencement following the occasion of the 
imveiling and dedication of the "New Market Monu- 
ment" at the Institute, the survivors of the Battle Corps 
were presented by the V. M. I. Alumni Association with 
handsome bronze medals of honor; and one was pre- 
sented by the survivors of the Battle Corps to Mrs. 
Crim, which she now wears with the utmost pride. 

Breckinridge won a splendid victory at New Market, 
and the news which Lee, locked in the death-grapple 
with Grant in the Wilderness, received the morning 
after the battle was most comforting to him, for the 
success which had been attained in the Valley rendered 
his flank safe, and saved his granary for the time being. 

The 16th and 17th of May were devoted to caring 
for the woimded, the Corps of Cadets going into camp 
in some woods just below the town and north of the 

On the 16th, the Commandant received an order from 
General Breckinridge to report to General Imboden, 
with the request on the part of General Breckinridge 
that the Corps be relieved from further duty at that 
time, and be ordered back to the Institute.* The cir- 
cumstances of General Imboden's situation were such, 
however, as to render its detention for a time necessary. 

*S. O. No. 9. Headquarters, Valley District. Original in General Shipp's 

340 The Military History of 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"New Market, Va., May 16, 1864. 

"Colonel — I am directed by Major-General Breckinridge to 
convey, in parting with the Corps of Cadets, to you and to them, his 
thanks for the important services you have rendered. He desires 
also to express his admiration for their meritorious conduct, as 
exhibited in their soldierly bearing on the march, and their distin- 
guished gallantry on the field. 

"With sentiments of high personal regard, I am. Colonel, 
"Very respectfully, 

"Your obedient servant, 

"J. Stoddard Johnston, 
"Major and Acting Adjutant-General. 

"Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, 

"Commanding Corps of Cadets." 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"New Market, Va., May 16, 1864. 

"An approximate return of Killed and Wounded and a summary 
field return, showing total effective and aggregate present, will be 
made out and forwarded to these headquarters immediately. 
"By command of Major-General Breckinridge, 

"J. Stoddard Johnston, 

"Acting Adjutant-General. 
"Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, 

"Headquarters, First Brigade, 

"Rude's Hill, May 16, 1864. 

"Dear Colonel — I have directed Captain Catlett to call upon 
you for a report of the operations of your command on yesterday in 
the battle of New Market. I can not refrain. Colonel, in this un- 
official manner, from expressing my high admiration of the conduct 
of your noble boys in the fierce conflict of yesterday, and my deep 
sympathy with you all on account of the many casualties which, I 
understand, you will have to record. I shall always be proud to 
have had you and your Corps under my command j no man ever led 
a more gallant band. Nobly have you illustrated the history of 
your State, and the great institution which you have represented. 

"I am. Colonel, most truly, 

"John Echols, 

"Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, 

"Commanding Corps of Cadets." 

The Virginia Military Institute 341 

On the 18th, the Superintendent telegraphed Brig- 
adier-General Imboden as follows : 

"Cadets are ordered to Richmond. Move them on to Staunton 

That same day, the following orders were pubhshed: 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"Staunton, Va., May 16, 1864. 
"General Orders — No. 4. 

"The Major-General Commanding takes pleasure in communi- 
cating to the troops of his command the following dispatch from 
General Lee in which he tenders thanks due only to them. 

" 'Spottsylvania C. H., May 16, 1864. 

" 'General J. C. Breckinridge, 

" 'I offer you the thanks of this Army for your victory over 
General Sigel. 

" 'R. E. Lee.' 

"To receive such a testimonial from such a source will be grate- 
ful to the hearts of every true soldier. 

"By command of Major-General Breckinridge, 

"J. Stoddard Johnston, 

"A. A. -General."** 

The morning of the 19th, the Commandant received 
the following communication: 

"Headquarters, Valley District, 

"May 19, 1864. 
"Col. Shipp, Commanding, 
"Corps Cadets. 
"Col. — I enclose you a dispatch received at a late hour last 
night. It explains itself. You will proceed to Staunton, without 
delay, and report to Gen. F. H. Smith. 

"With sincerest good wishes for the future success and safety 
of the Corps of gallant youths under your command, and of your- 
self, personally, I am Col., very truly, 


"J. D. Imboden, 


♦Original In General Shlpp's possession. 


fProm the original In General Shlpp's possession. 

342 The Military History of 

"That day, we started on our return march up the 
Valley, crestfallen and dejected. The joy of victory 
was forgotten in distress for the friends and comrades 
dead and maimed. We were still young in the ghastly 
game, but we proved apt scholars. On our march up 
the Valley, we were not hailed as sorrowing friends, but 
greeted as heroes and victors. At Harrisonburg, 
Staunton, Charlottesville — everywhere, an ovation 
awaited us, such as we did not dream of, and such as has 
seldom greeted any troops. The dead, and poor fellows 
tossing on cots of fever and delirium, were almost for- 
gotten by the selfish comrades whose fame their blood 
had bought."* 

The Corps marched into Harrisonburg on the 20th, 
where some of the more seriously wounded cadets were 
placed in the hospital, and arrived at Staunton on the 
21st. The night before its arrival the Commandant 
received the following communication : 

"Hqrs., Va. Mil. Inst., 

"Staunton, Va., May 20, 1864. 
"Lt.-Col. Scott Shipp, 
"Com'd of Cadets. 

"Col. — Your dispatch of this date is just received. I regret to 
learn that the shoes are worthless. If the Scotch shoes can be had 
there, I wiU buy as many as may be required. Anticipating the 
need of socks, I have with me 10 dozen pairs, and have ordered 
20 dozen more to meet the cadets in Eichmond. I had also tele- 
graphed the Adj .-General to have 100 pr. pants ready in Richmond 
to meet the wants of the most destitute. I first tried to get them 
here, but the order of the Q. M. General was required. 

"The cadets will move on by train on Sunday morning (22d). 
The battery and horses will go with the cadets. I am expecting our 
subsistence stores to-morrow. I made requisition for the Enfield 
Rifles, but not to be had. I will renew the requisition in Richmond. 

"The cadets will be engaged in guarding one of the main ap- 
proaches to the city. I shall endeavor to get the Brook Turnpike, 
or Meadow Bridge, or Mechanicsville Road. 

"I have ordered Col. Gilham to proceed at once to Lexington, 
and have the clothes of the cadets carefully collected and placed in 
charge of Capt. Semmes whom I have ordered to take them by 
packet to Richmond Sunday evening, so as to meet us there. 

*Bnd of an Era, J. S. Wise. 

The Virginia Military Institute 343 

"The ladies have provided most sumptuous repasts for the 
cadets. I should desire you to arrange your entrance into town not 
earlier than 9 a. m. I have selected for camp groimd the hill imme- 
diately above the Depot, the same ground occupied by Echols's 

"I send you the battle flag, which I had ordered three weeks ago, 
and which only arrived at Lexington Friday. 

"I will attend to your trunk. 

"I remain, Col., very resp., 

"Francis H. Smith, 


According to a report of the Superintendent, fully 
one-third of the Corps was practically barefooted upon 
reaching Staunton. On the 19th, he dispatched Captain 
T, M. Semmes to Lexington to pack up the effects of the 
officers and cadets and to convey them with a supply of 
Quartermaster and Subsistence stores to Richmond.** 

Upon the arrival of the Corps, the following order 
was published: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Staunton, May 21, 1864. 

"General Orders — No. 19. 

"I. The Superintendent communicates the following dispatch 
received from the Adjutant-General: 

" 'Richmond, Va., May 16, 1864. 

" 'Majoh-Gen'al F. H. Smith. 

" 'March the cadets to Richmond and report to Secretary of War. 
"'(Copy of his letter of to-day to the Governor.) 

" 'The signal victory just achieved by General Breckinridge in 
the Valley culminated in the retreat of the enemy's forces that 
lately threatened along the line of the Virginia and Tennessee 
Railroad, and relieved forces acting as reserves in that quarter, 
while, on the other hand, all reserve forces at command would be 
entirely serviceable in strengthening our defense and enabling us 
to send veteran troops to the battlefield. Under these circum- 
stances I have thought the gallant Corps of Cadets at the Institute 
might be most advantageously summoned here. Where else could 
they more appropriately signalize their valor and patriotism than 
im the defense of the Capital of their native State? I, therefore, 

•From original. 

•*S. O. No. 121, V. M. I., Staunton, Va., May 19, 1864. 

344 The Military History of 

venture on the suggestion and make the request, that they may be 
called here to aid in defense of the Capital, and within the entrench- 
ments, or in guarding some of our most important lines of com- 
munication, as circumstances may require. 

" 'J. A. Seddon, 

" 'Secretary of War. 
" 'By command of W. H. Richardson, 
" 'Adjutant-General.' 

"II. As soon as the command can reach Staunton, and trans- 
portation can be furnished, the Infantry Battalion and Section of 
Artillery of the Corps of Cadets will be moved to Richmond. 

"III. Two days' cooked rations will be taken. 

"IV. Subsistence stores have been brought from the Institute 
to accompany the command. 

"V. The wagons, ambulance and unnecessary servants will be 
relieved, and ordered back to Lexington. 

"VI. Surgeon Madison will remain with the wounded and sick 
cadets and see that they are properly cared for. Supplies are left 
in Staunton to meet their wants. 

"VII. The Superintendent has no words to express his sense 
of the gallant conduct of the Corps of Cadets in the decisive but 
sanguine battle of New Market on the 15th inst. 

"The patriotic heart of the Commonwealth and Confederacy 
respond with proud and grateful emotion at the fortitude, courage 
and gallant bearing of these brave sons of the South. 

"We have to mourn the loss of the dead — but the names of 
Cabell, Stanard, Jones, Crockett, McDowell and Jefferson [Atwill, 
Wheelwright and Haynes had not yet died], will be honored among 
the most valued heroes of this eventful struggle, and the scarred 
bodies of the wounded will be trophies of valor and patriotism of 
which the Virginia Military Institute will ever be proud.. The 
Superintendent would return his thanks to Lt.-Col. Shipp, and all 
the OflScers and Cadets, for their conduct in this trying service. 

"By command, Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. Inst." 

Sxinday the 22d, after a trivunphant entry into 
Staunton, and the most tremendous ovation the Corps 
had ever received, the Battalion and Section of Artillery 
with the impressed Rockbridge horses, entrained for 
Richmond, under the orders of the Secretary of War. 
In the meantime, Breckinridge's command had been 
transferred to the North Anna, where Lee found it 

The Virginia Military Institute 345 

upon arriving there on the 22d, The battle of Yellow 
Tavern had been fought between Sheridan and Stuart 
on the 10th, and, while the former did not succeed in 
reaching Richmond, it was only by the merest chance 
that the Confederate cavalry, with the loss of the heroic 
Stuart, drove him back after he had carried the outer 
works. At this time, there were few troops to guard 
the extended lines about Richmond, and the constant 
threats of Sheridan's cavalry upon the works north of 
the city made it imperative to order the cadets to Rich- 
mond to assist at this critical juncture in manning the 
works. They were not merely ordered there to be 
decorated with laurels as seems to be beheved by some. 
"We were ordered to Richmond. All our sadness 
disappeared. What mattered it to us that we were 
packed into freight cars; it was great sport riding on 
the tops of the cars. We were side-tracked at Ashland, 
and there, lying on the ground by the side of us, was 
Stonewall Jackson's division. We had heard of them 
and looked upon them as the greatest soldiers that ever 
went into battle. What flattered us most was that they 
had heard of us. While waiting at Ashland a very dis- 
tinguished-looking surgeon entered the car, inquiring 
for some cadet. He was just returning from the battle- 
field of Spottsylvania, I heard with absorbed interest 
his accoimt of the terrible carnage there, and when he 
said he had seen a small tree within the 'bloody angle' 
cut down by the bullets, I turned to Louis and said, 'I 
think that old fellow is drawing a long bow.' The per- 
son speaking was Dr. Charles Macgill. I afterwards 
learned that what he said was literally true. At the 
moment, when we were Ij^g there at Ashland, the 
armies of Grant and Lee, moving by the flank, were 
passing, the one about us, the other within a few miles 
of us, from the battlefields of Spottsylvania Court 
House and Milford Station to their ghastly field at 
Second Cold Harbor. We could distinctly hear the fir- 
ing in our front. We reached Richmond that after- 
noon, and were quartered in one of the buildings of the 

346 The Military History or 

Fair Grounds, known as 'Camp Lee.' It is impossible 
to describe the enthusiasm with which we were received. 

"A week after the battle of New Market, the Cadet 
Corps, garlanded, cheered by ten thousand throats, in- 
toxicated with praise unstinted, wheeled proudly around 
the Washington Monument at Richmond, to pass in re- 
view before the President of the Confederate States, 
to hear a speech of commendation from his lips, and to 
receive a stand of colors from the Governor of Virginia. 

"No wonder that our band, as we marched back to 
our quarters, played lustily: 

" 'There's not a trade that's going 
Worth showing or knowing 
Like that from glory growing. 

For the bowld soldier boy. 
For to right or left you go, 
Sure you know, friend or foe, 
He is bound to be a beau. 

Your bowld soldier boy.' " 

Crowds of people assembled all along the route to 
cheer the cadets, of whose prowess marvelous tales had 
spread over the State. On reaching Richmond late on 
the 23d, the Corps was met at the Virginia Central 
Depot by a great concourse of citizens. Orders were 
there received directing the Commandant to march his 
command to Camp Lee. The day of its arrival, the 
Second Congress of the Confederate States of America 
passed a unanimous resolution of thanks to the Corps of 
Cadets for its heroic services at New Market. 

The next morning the following order was published^ 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Richmond, May 24, 1864. 
"Spkcial Orders — No. 122. 

"The Corps of Cadets will be reviewed this afternoon on the 
Capitol Square by His Excellency, the President of the Confederate 
States, in the presence of the Governor of the State, and the 
Secretary of War. 

"The Battalion of Infantry and Section of Artillery will be 
formed, accordingly, and marched to the Capitol, subject to the 
orders of the Governor." 

The Vieginia Military Institute 347 

Upon reaching the Capitol, the President dehvered 
a stirring address to the Corps, referring to its con- 
duct at New Market as one of the most heroic deeds in 
the annals of war. Using the incident as one of special 
appeal to the people of the South at large, in the dark 
hour which had come upon them, when every encourag- 
ing example was of value in bestirring them to make 
even greater sacrifices than they had already made, he 
concluded by thanking the cadets in the name of the 
Confederate States of America. 

Governor Smith then presented the Corps with a 
handsome stand of colors, and, after expressing the hope 
that they would be borne as worthily as had the old ones, 
he thanked the Corps in the name of the Commonwealth 
of Virginia. 

The next day, the Commandant received the follow- 
ing letter: 

"House of Representatives, 

"Confederate States Congress, 

"May 25, 1864. 

"Colonel Scott Shipp, 

"Commandant of Cadets. 
"Sir — The House of Representatives has passed a Resolution in 
relation to the participation of the Corps of Cadets in the victory 
over Sigel, gained by our forces near New Market, on the fifteenth 
instant, and I have been requested to communicate this Resolution 
to you. 

■ "Had I known that you would have been in the city yesterday I 
would have availed myself of the opportunity to perform that duty. 
Please let me know when the Corps will be again in the City. 
"Very truly and respectfully, 

"Thomas S. Bocock, 
"Speaker, House of Representatives." 

Accordingly, arrangements were at once made for 
the reappearance of the Corps at the Capitol on the 
28th, when Mr. Speaker Bocock of the Confederate 
House of Representatives, publicly communicated to 
the Corps the Resolution of Congress in the presence of 
the Senate and the House assembled. 

348 The Military History of 

S. O. No. 121, A. and I. G. O., Richmond, Va., May 
25, 1864, directed the Commandant to report to Major- 
General Ransom, Commanding the Department of 
Richmond, for assignment to duty with Brigadier-Gen- 
eral G. W. C. Lee, commanding the Local Defense 
Troops of Richmond. On the 26th, General Ransom 
requested General Lee (no doubt upon the solicitation 
of the Superintendent) to have the Corps ordered into 
Camp on the Brooke Turnpike, imtil further orders.* 

It was not, however, until the 28th, in order that the 
ceremony narrated might be held, that the Corps left 
Camp Lee, moving into its new Camp on Carter's farm 
on the intermediate line midway between the Brooke 
and Meadow Bridge Roads.** 

On the 26th, it had been annoimced by S. O. No. 123, 
V. M. I., that all Assistant Professors assigned to duty 
as Tactical Officers would thereafter hold the rank of 
Captain. The annual examinations were postponed in- 
definitely, all charges against the cadets for the period 
of their absence from the Institute in the field were re- 
mitted, and July 4th was fixed as the date for the gradu- 
ation of the First Class. 

The Corps was now acting under the immediate 
orders of the Confederate States of America, and the 
position of the Commandant as a tactical commander 
was an anomalous one. On the 31st, however, the 
Superintendent secured from the Secretary of War the 
promise of an order turning the Corps over to the State 
authorities, an on the 4th, S. O. No. 130, A. and I. 
G, O., directed that the 23 horses which had been im- 
pressed in Lexington for gim and caisson teams be re- 
turned to their owners forthwith.! To carry this 

• "Hd. Qrs. Dept. Eichmond, 

"May 26, 1864. 
"General — tlie Major-General Comd'g desires you to have the Corps of Cadets 
camped on the Brooke Turnpike until further orders. 

"Yours very resp'y> 

"T. O. Chestney, 

"A. A. G."* 
♦•Eebelllon Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, p. 752. 
tBeport of Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, July 4, 1864, Including report 
of battle. Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, p. 91. 

•From original in possession of General Shipp. 

The Virginia Military Institute 349 

order into execution, the Superintendent directed that 
Captain T. M. Senunes should proceed at once to Lex- 
ington with the Section of Artillery, the horses, and all 
surplus baggage, via the Danville and Southside Rail- 
roads as far as Lynchburg. 

While the Corps was in camp on Carter's farm, the 
President took occasion to appoint three cadets from 
Mississippi, Watson, McConnico, and Greer, imder the 
authority conferred upon him by Congress. 

On June 2d, the Corps, upon the request of his father, 
and rmder the authority of the Department Com- 
mander, furnished a funeral escort for the remains of 
Lieutenant Peyton Johnston, Jr., of the Richmond 
Fayette Artillery, a graduate of the Institute, who was 
killed at Cold Harbor. But while posted in the works, 
and performing regular field service as a part of the line 
of defense, no active duty was required of the cadets, 
for Lee had successfully interposed between Grant and 
Richmond, and Sheridan had been driven off to the 
flanks of the Federal Army. Nevertheless, the service 
they performed at this time was most important, and 
comprised their seventh tour of duty in the field. 

"Hqrs., Va. Mil. Inst., 

"Richmond, June 6, 1864. 
"Lt.-Col. S. Shipp, 

"Comd't of Cadets. 

"Colonel — General Bragg informed me last night that our 
forces had been badly whipped below Staunton (Piedmont), Gen- 
eral W. E. Jones being killed. The command now devolves upon 
General A. J. Vaughan (V. M. I., '51) who commands a Tennessee 
brigade of infantry. He has fallen back upon Staunton, and, it was 
apprehended, would not be able to hold it. 

"General Bragg informed me that troops would be immediately 
forwarded to drive them. It is possible the order may embrace the 
Corps of Cadets, but do not know this, and I feel it to be my duty 
to give you this information that you may be in readiness for a 

"Governor Smith is of opinion that the cadets should be imme- 
diately sent back, that the public property at Lexington may be 
protected. The order will be of no avail unless suitable reinforce- 
ments are sent. 

350 The Military History of 

"I send by Cadet Clarkson 6 gross of Cadet buttons, which the 
Q'r. M'r. can issue to those needing them, etc. 

"I remain. Col., very resp't, 

"F. H. Smith, 



"Headquarters, Va. Mil. Institute, 

"Richmond, June 6, 1864. 
"Lt.-Col. S. Shipp, 

"Com'd of Cadets. 

"CoLONEi, — I enclose you an order from General Bragg, which 
is made after arrangements had been made for reinforcements to 
be sent to the Valley. 

"These reinforcements will consist of Breckinridge's division, 
which will move to South Anna Bridge, then march to Beaver Dam 
and there take cars. 

"If command can be moved in by 5 to take the train to Lynch- 
burg this evening, it will be important to do so, and I will endeavor 
to send transportation for you. 

"I remain. Colonel, very resp't, 

"F. H. Smith, 


"You will have to notify the Q'r. M'r. here immediately, that he 
may make arrangements for the cars. 

"F. H. S."* 

"Adjutant-General's Office, 

"Richmond, June 6, 1864. 
"Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute. 

"General — The Corps of Cadets having been by order of the 
President turned over to the State Authority and the movements of 
the enemy appearing to involve the safety of the Institute, and 
other public property, at Lexington, the Governor directs that you 
cause the Corps to be returned to the Institute by railroad, via 
Lynchburg, or other route if found more practicable. 

"The Governor approves the order of Ex-Governor Letcher of 
4th September, 1863, and adopts it, so far as at present applicable. 

"Should the public property at the Institute be found unmolested, 
and practicable to be reached and defended, you will adopt proper 
measures for that purpose. 

*OriglnaU of foregoing letters in possession of General Shipp. 

The Virginia Military Institute 351 

"In the event of difficulty, or peril, in making that defense except 
by co-operation with the troops of the Confederate Government, it 
wiU be needful to afford the co-operation, at least to such an extent 
as the security of the Military Institute may require, of which you 
must of necessity be the judge. Bearing in mind, however, always, 
that the Corps be not further exposed in battle than absolute neces- 
sity may require. 

"By command, 

"Wm. H. Richardson, 


The Commandant lost no time in making his prepara- 
tions for the move, and leaving Richmond the morning 
of the 7th, arrived in Lynchburg at 11 p. m. on the 8th. 
Proceeding immediately from that point by canal boat 
to Lexington, the Corps reached the Institute at 3 
p. M. on the 9th, after an absence of one month, lacking 
two days. During the 28 days of its absence, the Corps 
had marched from Lexington to New Market, 85 miles, 
in 5 days; fought a battle in which it lost nearly a 
quarter of its members; marched from New Market to 
Staunton (47 miles) in 3 days, almost without shoes; 
moved to Richmond by rail; received the public thanks 
of the Confederate Congress, the President, and the 
Governor of Virginia, and a stand of colors ; spent two 
weeks in the works of the intermediate line of defense; 
and returned to Lexington to save the Institute, if 
possible; and actually coming under the enemy's fire 
within 48 hours after its arrival. 

352 The Military History or 




When the Corps returned to the Institute, it found 
Barracks tenanted by seven new cadets who had just 
matriculated when the Battalion was ordered to take 
the field in May ; being entirely ignorant of military 
duty they had been drafted to remain behind, much to 
their chagrin and sorrow.* A nimiber of the wounded, 
including Captain Hill, had also been received at the 
hospital. Colonel Preston who had returned on the 
23d of May had (with Colonel Massie) remained in 

The past fortnight had been a period of constant 
alarm for the residents of Lexington. 

May 21st, Major-General David Hunter superseded 
Sigel in command of the Department of West Virginia. 
Arriving at Martinsburg on that date, he joined the 
troops turned over to him by Sigel at Cedar Creek on 
the 26th, and soon completed his preparations to march 
up the Valley. 

Meantime, Crook's column, which had defeated the 
Confederates at Cloyd's Moimtain on the 9th, burned 
the important railroad bridge spanning New River on 
the 10th, and then returning to Meadow Bluff for sup- 
phes, had been joined by Averell with the cavalry force 
which had been previously detached to operate towards 
Wytheville. On the 30th, Crook moved towards 

June 5th, Hunter met the force under W. E. Jones 
at Piedmont, defeating it, killing Jones, and capturing 
1,500 prisoners. The next day, his army entered 

•Included among these was the present distinguished U. S. Senator from 
Virginia, T. S. Martin. 


Assistant I^bofessor 1859-1862 

Commandant of Cadets 1862-1890 

supeeintenden't 1890-1907 
Superintendent Emeritus 1907- 

The Virginia Military Institute 353 

Staunton, where he was joined by Crook on the 7th and 
8th. After destroying the railroads in the vicinity, the 
collected supplies for the Confederate Army, and all 
the manufacturing establishments in the city, the 
vmited forces advanced on Lexington, June 10th, the 
day after the Corps arrived there. 

Hunter's Army now consisted of the forces which 
Sigel, Crook, and Averell had formerly commanded. 
It included two large infantry divisions of three bri- 
gades each, with a total of 22 regiments; two divisions 
of cavalry, with a total of fifteen regiments ; and 7 bat- 
teries of artillery. The whole command must have 
numbered about 20,000 men. Among the officers were 
Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes, commanding the 1st 
Brigade, 2d Infantry division; Major William McKin- 
ley; and Captain Henry A. du Pont of the 5th U. S. 
Artillery, commanding the four batteries attached to 
the cavalry. The first two subsequently became Presi- 
dents of the United States, and Captain du Pont is the 
present distinguished United States Senator from 

From Staunton, Hunter marched his army up the 
Valley in four columns, by parallel roads. The infantry 
division imder General Crook, and the cavalry division 
vmder General Averell, moving by the most western 
route, were opposed by McCausland with about 1,400 
movmted men and a battery. 

McCausland was easily driven back from the succes- 
sive positions be sought to hold, and it was soon ap- 
parent that Lexington was doomed, a fact all the more 
bitter because in Himter's Army were the very troops 
which the cadets had helped defeat less than a month 
before, at New Market. 

On the night of the 10th, McCausland was joined by 
Lieutenant-Colonel Shipp, who bivouacked with him 
at the junction of the Goshen and Staunton roads. 
Early that morning, the Confederate cavalry pickets 
came scurrying in with the news that a large column of 
the enemy was proceeding towards Lexington from 


354 The Military History of 

Brownsburg, and other reports soon arrived that every 
road leading up the Valley was in possession of 
Hunter's columns. McCausland's small force could not 
even compel them to deploy. 

When the report reached Lexington on the 6th, that 
the enemy was at Millboro, and on the 7th, that Averell 
was at Jordan's Furnace, but thirty miles distant, with 
not a Confederate soldier between the enemy and Lex- 
ington, Colonel Preston, in charge at that time, had set 
about the task of packing up everything movable at the 
Institute. The next day, he issued orders for one of 
the wounded cadets who was not expected to live to be 
moved to his quarters, upon the approach of the enemy, 
and to be concealed to save him from capture. 

Besides the four 6-pounder guns and the 12-pounder 
howitzer of the Cadet Battery, there were at the Insti- 
tute four brass 6-pounders, the two 3-inch rifles returned 
from Richmond, and a large amount of artillery am- 
mimition. This material, as well as all quartermaster 
and commissary stores, the Superintendent caused to 
be loaded and six canal boats with a view to sending 
them on to Lynchburg.* He also took precautions to 
secure the more vital records but it was impossible, in 
the limited time available, to remove the scientific ap- 
paratus and equipment, and the large and valuable col- 
lection of books in the library of the Institute. 

The Superintendent, perceiving the futility of op- 
position to such a force as that with which Hunter was 
advancing, protested from the first against any at- 
tempt at defending Lexington, which would, in his 
opinion, only expose the town and the Institute to 
retaliatory measures, on the part of the enemy. 

On the 10th, he wired Breckinridge, through Gen- 
eral Bragg, as follows: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"June 10, 1864, 6 p. m. 

"General Breckinridge — I have just left McCausland's camp 
two miles from Lexington. He has been fighting Averell's cavalry,, 

»Eebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, pp. 730-97. 

The Vieginia Military Institute 355 

estimated at 6,000 strong, all day, from one and a half miles this 
side Staunton to Brownsburg, and his scouts report that Crook 
entered Fairfield this afternoon, with upward of six regiments of 
infantry and 200 cavalry. If pursued by either column, Mc- 
Causland will not be able to hold Lexington, The plans of the 
enemy are developed; they camp to-night at Cedar Grove, nine 
miles from Lexington, and at Fairfield, twelve miles from Lex- 

"F. H. Smith, 


All during the night of the 10th, however, the Corps 
was held under arms, and, upon the return of the Com- 
mandant from McCausland's headquarters, the cadet 
howitzer was ordered down to the hridge in East Lex- 
ington, and a company of cadets xmder Captain Wise 
posted on the hillside in rear, as a support, with in- 
structions to burn the bridge, while the howitzer blew 
out the piers, upon the approach of the enemy. 

"Resistance to a force hke Hvmter's being out of the 
question, we were ordered to prepare for the evacuation 
of Lexington. A detail of sappers was sent forthwith 
to the bridge across the North River, with directions to 
load it with bales of hay saturated with turpentine, leav- 
ing space just sufficient for the passage of McCaus- 
land's retreating forces. Before sunrise, the main body 
of our troops came streaming down the hills across the 
river; and, half a mile behind them, their rear guard 
emerged from the woods along the hilltops, skirmish- 
ing with, and hotly pressed by, the enemy. At the 
river, after crossing the bridge, McCausland deployed 
a force upon the bluffs above and below the bridge, to 
cover the crossing of the rear guard."** 

But long ere this, the young professor commanding 
the Confederate troops knew that it was beyond his 
power to save the Institute to which he was attached 
with the devotion peculiar to its graduates. 

"The rear guard, called in, rallied at a run to the 
bridge ; and the Union skirmishers, emboldened by their 

♦Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, pp. 756-57. 
*»End of an Bra, J. S. Wise. 

356 The Military History of 

quick movements, dashed after them down the hills. 
Coming too near to the force behind the bluffs, they 
were compelled to retreat under a heavy fire upon 
Hunter's advance-guard, which was now coming up. 
A battery of Union artillery, imder Captain Henry A. 
du Pont, galloped out upon the hills overlooking Lex- 
ington from the north side of the river, and opened 
fire upon the Institute. A section of McCausland's 
artillery came up, after crossing the bridge, took 
position at the northeast corner of the parade ground, 
to respond to du Pont. As soon as our troops were 
across the bridge, it was fired, and a column of black 
smoke rolled heavenward. Our sappers, their task per- 
formed, hurried back at double time to rejoin their re- 
spective companies. Along the pike in the valley, in 
front of the Institute, the cavalry, weary and depressed, 
was retiring to the town. 

"The whole panorama, front and rear, was visible 
from the Institute grounds, and made a very pretty 
war scene. 

"When the Union battery opened, the Corps was 
drawn up in front of the Barracks awaiting orders. It 
was of course invisible to the enemy from his position 
directly in rear of Barracks. If his guns had been 
aimed at the center of the building, his shells would have 
exploded in our midst. But the massive parts were at 
the corners, where the towers were grouped, and thither 
the fire was directed. The first shell that struck crashed 
in the hall of the Society of Cadets, sending down 
showers of brickbats and plaster when it exploded. 
Thereupon, we were ordered to pass over the parapet 
in front of the Barracks, and thence were marked west- 
ward imtil clear of the building, so as to avoid the 
splinters and debris. It was very well; for while several 
of his guns turned their attention to our section of 
artillery on the parade ground. Captain Harry filled 
the air with fragments as he pounded away at our 

*To-day (1914) may be seen two solid shot Imbedded In the central tower of 
the East wing of Barracks. 

The Virginia Military Institute 357 

"In our new position under the parapet, about op- 
posite the Guard Tree, although fully protected, we 
were nearly in the line of fire of the shots directed at 
our battery. A number of shells struck the parade 
ground, some exploding there, and others ricochetting 
over our heads." 

One can imagine the infinite satisfaction the Federal 
witnesses derived from this bombardment of the "Hor- 
net's Nest" in Lexington. Hunter, Crook, Hayes, and 
McKinley were too well informed not to understand the 
infinite value to the Confederacy of Virginia's School 
of Arms, and du Pont, at New Market, and Averell, 
on three former occasions, had had personal experience 
with the Young Guard of Virginia. 

"With heavy hearts, we passed through the town, 
bidding adieu to such of the residents as we had known 
in happier days." 

It had been expected that horses would be impressed 
for the Cadet Battery, but finding this impossible, at 
the last moment, the five venerable pieces had to be 
abandoned to the enemy, for lack of teams to draw them 
off. They were left in the gun shed, with their caissons 
and equipment. 

"No words would describe our feelings as we rested 
on the roadside. . . . The place was endeared by 
a thousand memories, but above all other thoughts, it 
galled and mortified us that we had been compelled to 
abandon it without firing a shot." 

Thinking that the Federal cavalry would attempt to 
cut off the retreating column from Lynchburg, the Com- 
mandant led the Corps out of Lexington by the boat 
yard road, across North River, some distance east of 
the town. The first halt was made about four miles out 
at a cherry tree which a kind old farmer turned over to 
the cadets and from which many of them ate their fill. 
That old cherry tree still stands beside the road, but it 
has never afforded more real enjoyment than it did to 
those hungry pedestrians on June 11, 1864. 

358 The Military History of 

The Corps reached Balcony Falls where the North 
River enters the James, that evening, and soon it was 
reported that the enemy was pursuing. The gorge 
through which the James River rushes at Balcony Falls 
extends eastward for some miles and offers many de- 
fensible positions. The Commandant, accordingly, fell 
back down the pass about two miles, and placed the 
Corps in the position in which he could offer the greatest 
resistance. Pickets were thrown forward, and all that 
night cadets rested on their arms, and until noon the 
following day, Simday, the 12th. "Then^ we as- 
certained that General Hunter had passed up the 
Valley to the approaches to Lynchburg, by way of the 
Peaks of Otter." The Corps proceeded on its route to 
the Rope Ferry, four miles below Balcony Falls. 

On the 12th, Averell had dispatched a column of 200 
mounted men from Lexington across the Blue Ridge, 
to reconnoiter in the direction of Lynchburg, via Am- 
herst Court House. Learning the next day of their 
presence east of the mountains, Breckinridge, who was 
moving with his division by forced marches from Rock- 
fish Gap to Lynchburg, directed Imboden at the latter 
point, to cooperate with him in cutting off their escape, 
and, with that end in view, to hold the Corps of Cadets 
at Rope Ferry.* Accordingly, Imboden dispatched 
the following communication to the Superintendent who 
was with the cadets : 

"Lynchburg, 12 m. (noon), June 14, 1864. 

"Genebal F. H. Smith, 
"Comd'g, etc. 

"Gen. — Hold your position at the Rope Ferry. I have ordered 

IfcCausland to Waugh's Ferry. General Breckinridge is closing 

upon the enemy from Lovingston. I am moving to cut him off 

from all the gaps north of you. If his escape can be prevented, we 

will capture his whole force. 

"Yours resp't'y^ 

"J. D. Imboden, 



•Eebelllon Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, p. 157. 
**Orlginal In General Shipp's possession. 

The Virginia Military Institute 359 

The Corps remained at the Rope Ferry from Satur- 
day evening until Wednesday the 15th, being detained 
there all that time not only to hold the pass, but to guard 
the property of refugees who collected in the pass from 
various parts of the Upper Valley. Apprehending 
danger from Hunter's advance which McCausland was 
powerless to stay, General Smith ordered the Com- 
mandant, on the 15th, to move the Corps by canal 
boats to Lynchburg. While on the way, a courier met 
the Superintendent with a dispatch from Breckinridge, 
ordering the cadets to move immediately to that city by 
the north side of the river, and stating that the force of 
raiders had circled around Lynchburg, and were mov- 
ing on the south side to join Hunter. When this 
dispatch was received, the cadets had passed Waugh's 
Ferry, so that the danger of a colhson with the raiders 
was past. They arrived in Lynchburg at 8 a. m. on the 
16th, as Breckmridge's troops were arriving, while the 
raiders joined Averell about noon the same day at 
Liberty (Bedford City). 

Returning to Lexington, we shall let Mrs. Preston 
describe the entrance of the enemy on the 11th: 

"Evening: Our fears have all been realized; the 
enemy is upon us, and is in pursuit of McCausland, who 
left the town about an hour before they entered. About 
ten o'clock this morning, McCausland burned the bridge 
as the enemy approached it; he then began to fire upon 
them. We have been shelled in reply all day ; one shell 
exploded in our orchard, a few yards beyond us, — our 
house being just in their range, as they threw them at 
the retreating Confederates. The cadets, my husband 
among them, remained on the Institute hill, till shot 
and shell fell so thick that it was dangerous ; the cadets 
then retreated, and are several hours ahead. But they 
are infantry and this is a cavalry force. Mr. P. is just 
two hours ahead of them." Colonel Preston, it should 
be interpolated, had been placed in charge of the 
flotilla of barges, on which the movable property had 
been packed, and ordered to proceed down the canal 
with them to Lynchburg, 

360 The Military History or 

"The people from the lower part of the town fled 
from their dwellings, and om- house was filled with 
women and children."* 

"Just in the midst of the thickest shelhng the poor 
wounded boy from the Institute hospital was carried 
here, surrounded by a guard of cadets. He has borne 
the removal well. I have distributed some of J.'s 
[Jackson's] blackberry wine, which I have always for- 
borne to open, among the frightened and almost faint- 
ing ladies. About 4 o'clock the head of the Yankee 
column came in sight. I went out and watched them 
approach; saw six of our pickets run ahead of them 
some ten minutes. For two hours there was one con- 
tinuous stream of cavalry, riding at a fast trot, and 
several abreast, passing out at the top of the town. 
(South end.) Then the infantry began to pour in; 
these remained behind, and, with cavalry who came 
after, flooded the town. They began to pour into our 
yard and kitchen, half a dozen at a time, and I hesitated 
not to speak in the most firm and commanding tone to 
them. At first, they were content to receive bacon, two 
slices apiece; but they soon became insolent; demanded 
the smokehouse key, and told me they would break the 
door unless I opened it. I protested against their 
pillage, and with a score of them surrounding me, with 
gims in their hands, proceeded to the smokehouse and 
threw it open, entreating them at the same time, by the 
respect they had for their wives, mothers, and sisters, 
to leave me a little meat. They heeded me no more than 
wild beasts would have done; swore at me; and left me 
not one piece. Some rushed down the cellar steps, 
seized the newly-churned butter there, and made off. 
I succeeded in keeping them out of the house. We had 
no dinner; managed to procure a little supper; we had 

•This was a dwelling on the college grounds, formerly occupied by Dr. 
Junkin, President of Washington College, and the father of Mrs. Preston. 
Being a Northern sympathizer, he removed from Virginia at the outbreak of 
the war; but Mrs. Preston remained loyal to the sentiments of her husband. 
The house was also occupied by Jackson while a professor after his marriage 
to Mrs. Preston's sister. His first wife died about a year after her marriage, 
and about two years later Jackson married Miss Morrison, of Charlotte, N. C., 
and removed to a large brick house in Lexington, now become the Stonewall 
Jackson Memorial Hospital. 

The Virginia Military Institute 361 

nailed up all the windows. I wrote a polite note to 
General Averell asking for a guard ; none was sent. At 
ten, we went to bed, feeling that we had nothing be- 
tween these ravagers and us, but God's protecting 

Now, here, it should be remarked, this is the evidence 
of a noble. Christian woman, a Northerner by birth and 
rearing, contemporaneously recorded. It must, there- 
fore, be accepted as true, and nothing that could be 
written could so well illustrate the lack of discipline of 
Hunter's troops which his better officers were powerless 
to restrain. The men took their tone from Hunter, in 
whom there was none of the magnanimity of the victor 
so generally characteristic of the leaders in both armies. 
Small wonder that his Lexington relatives have dis- 
owned him and refer to him to-day, after all trace of 
sectional bitterness has died out, as the Renegade 
Vandal, for what occurred at the residence of Mrs. 
Preston happened in almost every other house in 

"Sunday Morning, June 12th: A day I will never 
forget. I slept undisturbed during the night, but was 
called downstairs early this morning by the servants who 
told me the throng of soldiers could not be kept out of 
the house. I went down and appealed to them as a lone 
woman who had nobody to protect her. I might as well 
have appealed to the bricks. I had left the smokehouse 
door open to let them see that every piece of meat was 
taken. . . . They came into the dining room, and 
began to carry away the china, when a yoimg fellow 
from Philadelphia (he said) took the dishes from them 
and made them come out. I told them I was a Northern 
woman, but confessed I was ashamed of my Northern 
lineage, when I saw them come on such an errand. 
They demanded to be let into the cellar, and one fellow 
threatened me with the burning of the house, if I did 
not give them just what they demanded. I said, 'Yes, 
we are at your mercy — bum it down, — but I won't give 
you the key.' They then demanded arms; we got the 

362 The Military History of 

old shot guns and gave them ; these they broke up, and 
left parts of them in the yard; broke into the cellar; 
carried off a firkin of lard hidden there; a keg of mo- 
lasses, and whatever they could find. They asked me 
if we had no more than this. I answered, 'Yes, but it is 
in the mountains.' Sent to General Crook for a guard 
— At last, they pressed into the house, and began to 
search my dressing room. What they took I don't know. 
They seized our breakfast, and even snatched the 
toasted bread and egg that had been begged for the 
sick man's breakfast. My children were crying for 
something to eat; I had nothing to give them but 
crackers. They set fire to the Institute about 9 o'clock; 
the flames are now enveloping it ; the towers have fallen ; 
the Arsenal is exploding as I write. Governor Letcher's 
house has been burned down, and they told me that all 
the V. M. I. Professors' houses were to be burned. 
Colonel Preston's among them. At last old Dr. Mc- 
Clung came, and Phoebe* asked him to go to Averell's 
headquarters with her (Averell had his headquarters in 
Dr. White's yard) ; she went; did not see the General, 
but foimd a young man there (from Philadelphia) who 
came back with her and ordered the men off. By and 
by, an oflScer came, and asked for me; told me he had 
heard we were annoyed; said he was mortified and 
would send a guard, though he had no authority to do 
so. . . . Let me note here, and I do it with chagrin 
and shame, that the only really civil men have been 
those from Western Virginia and those two Philadel- 
phians. Invariably, those from Virginia were polite; 
one offered silver for some bread. I had nothing but 
crackers, which I gave him, remarking that he was on 
the wrong side for a Virginian. He looked decidedly 

"It was 12 o'clock before we could get any breakfast. 
They carried off the coffee pot and everything they 
could lay their hands on, and while a 'guard', a boy of 
IT, was walking around the house, they emptied the 

'Colonel Preston's eldest daughter. 

The Virginia Military Institute 363 

corn crib. I asked Dr. P. to take the library for his 
medical stores, which he agreed to do; he was really 
pohte. We asked him if he were going to bum our 
house; he said, 'Not if it is private property.' General 
Hunter has ordered the burning of all the V. M. I. Pro- 
fessors' houses. Mrs. Smith pled for hers to be spared, 
on account of her daughter who lies there desperately 
ill (in child birth) ; that alone saved it. 

"Hunter has his headquarters in it. This has been 
an awful day, and it may be worse before night. One 
cavalryman told me that if they all talked as I did, they 
would fire the entire town. 

"12 o'clock: We have just heard that General Smith, 
Colonel Williamson, and Colonel Gilham, with some of 
the cadets, have been taken prisoners! 

"Three o'clock p. m. : I am in despair. Forty 
thousand troops are marching upon Richmond through 
here; eight thousand more left in Staunton, as an in- 
telMgent guard told us. Richmond must fall — how can 
it withstand such numbers? . . . 

"Monday Morning, June 13th: . . . We were 
told the house was to be searched as some of our neigh- 
bors' had been. I dehvered up all the sporting guns, 
but forgot that I had hidden Jackson's sword in a dark 
loft above the portico. At one o'clock last night, I 
crept up there as stealthily as a burglar, and brought it 
down, intending to dehver it up to Lt. B. ; but running 
up the back way to Dr. White's gate, and consulting 
him, he said he had his old sword which had never been 
in service, and advised me to keep it as long as I could. 
I have hidden it in Anna Jackson's piano. We hear 
that we are to be searched in the morning ; almost every 
house in town has been, and but for the interest this Lt. 
has taken in us, I beheve we should have been too. 

"General Smith's house has not been burned, they 
have not yet discovered our wounded man. . . . 
We hear many times this morning that the cadets have 
been captured." 

364 The Military History of 

A number of the cadets had stored their trunks in 
Colonel Preston's house before departing. These were 
now opened and the contents destroyed upon the advice 
of the friendly officer, for fear they might be discovered, 
for, by an oversight, or through the design of the officer, 
the provost-marshal had included the house in his hst 
which he certified had been searched. "I became so 
alarmed that I thought it time he, the Lieutenant, should 
know the wounded man was here, so I said, 'Come in 
and see the wounded cadet !' He seemed surprised, but 
came in, and talked very civilly; the cadet lay pale and 
motionless, never opening his eyes. The guard asked 
if we did not need help in sitting up with him at night, 
and talked so kindly that quiet tears began to steal down 
the poor wounded boy's face, — for he is only seventeen. 
Phoebe began to weep too ; the guard looked on a mo- 
ment, and then said, 'Well, in the other world there will 
be surely somebody made to suffer for all this !' I take 
time to note this. It is an incident worth preserving. 

"There was stiU Jackson's sword. With great 
trouble we carried it under our clothes — that sword that 
had flashed victoriously over many a battlefield, — and 
finally concealed it in an outhouse. . . . 

"The experience of our neighbors has been in some 
instances worse, in some better, than ours; but all have 
suffered. Some idea of our absorption of thought may 
be imagined, when I record that since last Friday till 
yesterday, we actually forgot to have any dinner gotten ; 
we forgot to eat; four days we went from morning till 
dark without food." 

We shall now let General Hunter describe his oc- 
cupation of Lexington.* 

"Having rested, and reorganized the combined forces 
under my command, I started on the 10th toward Lex- 
ington, moving up the Valley in four columns by roads 
nearly parallel. The infantry division under General 
Crook, and the cavalry division imder General Averell, 

*See Ills Report, Kebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, pp. 

The Virginia Military Institute 365 

moving on the right-hand road, were opposed by Mr. 
McCausland, with about 2,000 mounted men and a 

"He was easily driven, however, and, on the 11th, 
took refuge in the town of Lexington, behind the North 
River, a tributary of the James. Generals Crook and 
Averell arriving about midday, on the 11th, foimd the 
bridge across the stream burnt, and the crossing dis- 
puted by sharpshooters and artillery. The infantry 
division imder General Sulhvan, which moved on the 
road to the left, and which I accompanied in person, 
had met with no enemy thus far, but, at the sound of 
Crook's guns, moved rapidly forward, and took position 
in front of the town. I found the enemy's sharpshooters 
posted among the rocks and thickets of the opposite 
cliffs, and in some storehouses at the bridge, and also 
occupying the buildings of the Virginia Military Insti- 
tute, which stood near the river. Their artillery was 
screened behind the buildings of the town, and on some 
heights just beyond it the whole position was completely 
commanded by my artillery (thirty guns). This un- 
soldierly and inhvmian attempt of General McCausland 
to defend an indefensible position against an over- 
whelming force, by screening himself behind the private 
dwellings of women and children, might have brought 
justifiable destruction upon the whole town, but as this 
was not rendered imperative by any mihtary necessity, 
I preferred to spare private property, and an unarmed 
population. Instead of crushing the place with my 
artillery, I sent General Averell with a brigade of 
cavalry to cross the river some distance away, and fall 
upon the enemy's flank and rear. Before this move- 
ment was completed, the enemy proceeded and hastily 
retired on the road toward Buchanan. The Battalion 
of Cadets, about 250 muskets, took part in the defense 
and retired by the Balcony Falls road towards Lynch- 
burg. I was told that Colonel Smith, Principal of the 
Institute, and commanding the cadets, protested 
against the attempted defense as entirely futile, pur- 

366 The Military History or 

poseless and unnecessarily exposing the town and its 
helpless inhabitants to danger and destruction. In oc- 
cupying this place, a few prisoners were taken; five 
pieces of cannon, with numerous caissons and gun car- 
riages, some small arms, and a quantity of ammunition 
fell into our hands and were destroyed ; six barges laden 
with commissary stores, artillery ammunition, and six 
pieces of cannon were captured on the James River 
Canal near the town. A number of extensive iron works 
in the vicinity were burned. 

"On the 12th, I also burned the Virginia MiUtary 
Institute, and all the buildings connected with it. I 
found here a violent and inflammatory proclamation 
from John Letcher, lately Governor of Virginia, incit- 
ing the population of the country to rise and wage 
guerilla warfare on my troops, and ascertaining that 
after having advised his fellow-citizens to this course, 
the Ex-Governor himself had ignominiously taken flight. 
I ordered his property to be burned, under my order 
pubhshed May 24th, against persons practising, or abet- 
ting, such uncivihzed warfare. Having had information 
that a train of 200 wagons, loaded with supplies and 
guarded by two regiments of infantry, was en route 
following our march, I delayed one day in Lexington 
to allow it time to overtake us. I had also begun to 
feel anxious in regard to Duffie from whom I had not 
definitely heard for two days." 

Such is the official he of the vandal Hunter. The 
proclamation of John Letcher, to which he referred, 
was a natural appeal to the patriotism of the people to 
aid in the defense of the Upper Valley, one which any 
man in his position would have made, imder similar 
circumstances. One who knows the character of 
"Honest John" at once discards the mere suggestion of 
guerilla warfare on his part, as a palpable impossibility. 
Yet, his property, which incidentally included his house 
and home, was ruthlessly given over to the flames. The 
patriotism of the Ex-Governor did not change the 
private character of that property. 

The Virginia Military Institute 367 

Lincoln had specifically prohibited the destruction of 
private property. In total disregard of that injunction, 
Hunter did not confine himself to the demolition of the 
Institute, as a military post, but caused the private 
possessions of the defenseless professors to be burned. 
Lincoln's inhibition also included Educational Insti- 
tutions; but Hxmter, unable to perceive the value such 
things would have in settling the conquered country, 
ordered the educational equipment of the Institute to 
be given to the flames, along with the buildings. This 
equipment embraced a priceless mineralogical collection 
donated to the school by General Cocke, a. large and 
valuable library, including the irreplaceable collection 
of scientific works, which had been purchased from 
Colonel Claude Crozet, and the complete scientific ap- 
paratus and laboratories of the Engineering, Chemistry 
and Agricultural departments, and an exceptionally 
valuable telescope. 

Among the brave officers whom chance had con- 
signed to the command of so unworthy a leader was 
Captain Henry A. du Pont, of Delaware. In order 
to show what were the sentiments of the officers of 
Hunter's Army, it is here noted that in 1913 Senator 
Henry A. du Pont introduced a bill in the United 
States Senate providing for the reimbursement of the 
Virginia Military Institute, in the sum of $214,000, for 
the unlawful and unjustifiable destruction of its 
educational plant by General Hunter, June 12, 1864. 
It should be added that the burning of the Barracks 
and of the strictly military part of the institution has 
never been claimed to be improper or unjustifiable as 
a war measure.* 

The information contained in the following deposition 
which was taken as evidence by the Senate Claims Com- 
mittee is very interesting at this point, though it omits 
an important fact: , 

*To the writer's knowledge, Major McKlnley In later years often expressed 
regret lor the destruction of the Institute. Senate BUI 544, Sixty-Third Con- 

Ecess, Second Session, and the evidence of Senator du Pont and Major-General 
eonard Wood, Chlef-of-Sta£E, U. S. Army, given at the Hearing before the 
Committee on Claims, Is Included In full In the appendix. 

368 The Military History op 

State of Pennsylvania 
County of Alleghany 

On this 10th day of March, A. D., 1914, personally appeared 
before me the subscriber, a Notary Public, J. M. Schoonmaker, of 
Pittsburg, Pa., who being duly sworn according to law, doth depose 
and say: 

I was Colonel of the 14th Pennsylvania Cavalry, in command 
of the First Brigade of Averill's Cavalry Division, and led the 
advance of General Hunter's army when he moved south from 
Staunton on June 11, 1864, on what is known as Hunter's raid on 
Lynchburg. On arriving at the outskirts of Lexington there was 
some firing from skirmishers, which halted us until General Hunter 
came to the front, and ordered the shelling of the Virginia Military 
Institute, but with no response following same, and my recollection 
is that I was the first one to enter the Institute building, finding the 
cadets' school books open on their desks and diagrams partly 
finished on blackboard, and no trace of the building having been 
occupied by Confederate forces, placed it and the Washington 
College buildings under guard. Some time after General Hunter 
advanced his main army into Lexington and sent for me, taking me 
severely to task for not having burned the Institute, which he did 
the following day, and it was my understanding at the time that 
General Hunter also intended burning the Washington College 
buildings. I have no hesitation in stating that I considered at the 
time the burning of the Institute for military reasons unnecessary 
and unwarranted. 

And further the deponent sayeth not. 

J. M. Schoonmaker. 

Sworn and subscribed before me the day and year first above 

Wm. F. Brunner, 

Notary Public. 
My commission expires January 19, 1915. 

The omission referred to is that Colonel Schoon- 
maker, according to his own statement at the Institute, 
where he delivei-ed an address on the occasion of the 
Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Celebration, Jvine 24, 1914, 
was not only taken to task by Hunter for not destroying 
the Institute immediately upon entering Lexington, 
but was relieved of command pending the investigation 
of what his senior deemed a neglect and while other 
hands unwillingly applied the torch. The fact that 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 369 

Hunter thus sought to discipline Schoonmaker gave 
currency and credence to the report that a number of 
officers were placed in arrest for refusing to execute 
Hunter's orders to burn the Institute. His action with 
respect to Schoonmaker, his advance guard commander, 
was, undoubtedly designed to make him more wanton 
and reckless of the property rights of the enemy and the 
hostile inhabitants along the route. Hunter simply de- 
sired all his subordinates to take their cue from him 
and act in certain matters without explicit orders, for 
orders, especially when written, have an unpleasant 
way of springing up when least expected. 

Hunter did not cause the five pieces of the Cadet 
Battery which his men found at the Institute to be 
destroyed, as stated in his report. These pieces, to- 
gether with the six old French guns, and the two bronze 
guns of the Letcher Battery, which had been mounted 
in front of the Barracks, and Hubard's bronze replica 
of Houdon's Washington Statue, were seized by him, 
and sent with other captured property to Wheeling, 
West Virginia, where they were received as trophies of 
war by Governor Pierpoint, the Federal appointee, with 
great glee. Thus, did Hunter seek to impress his 
pohtical friends at home with the grandeur of his mili- 
tary exploits!* 

In his annual report to the Board of Visitors, 
rendered at its meeting in Richmond, July 15, 1864, 
the Superintendent recotinted Hunter's proceedings in 
detail, as follows: 

"Every species of public property was removed, or 
wantonly destroyed; and among the most serious losses 
are to be named our valuable library, — the accumulated 
care of twenty-five years, — and the philosophical ap- 
paratus, so long used by our late distinguished professor 

•In 1865, at tlie instance of the Superintendent, and Gen. T. T. Munford, 
V. M. I., '52, tlie Cadet Battery, superbly re-mounted and re-equipped, tlie 
Washington Statue, the two 24-pounder and the two 6-pounder French guns, and 
the two Letcher Battery guns, were gracefully returned to the Institute, by order 
of the Secretary of War, Mr. Stanton. La Lazarde and L'Aurore, the two 
9-pounder French guns, could not be found for a long time, but were finally 
located at Fortress Monroe, and returned by General William F. Barry, the post 
commander, under the proper authority. 


370 The Military History of 

of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, Lieiitenant- 
General Thomas J. Jackson. The apparatus and many 
of the valuable books had been removed to Washington 
College, imder the presumption that this venerable insti- 
tution might afford a shelter and protection to them. 
But the work of destruction went on. The College 
building was sacked; the libraries of both institutions 
were destroyed, and every particle of philosophical ap- 
paratus broken to pieces. Shavings had been prepared 
to fire the College buildings also, and the design was 
only prevented by the representations of the Trustees, 
setting forth the purely civil organization of the Col- 
lege, and that it was the recipient of the bounty of 
Washington himself. 

"Our hospital was first rifled of all its most valuable 
medical stores, and was then burnt, although one 
severely wounded cadet and one sick cadet, dependent 
upon both for comfort and almost for life, had to be 
removed from the building at great risk, in the midst 
of the shelling and the rifle balls of the sharpshooters. 

"The families of Colonels Williamson and Gilham 
were required by rude officials to vacate their quarters ; 
and, although they were allowed the privilege of re- 
moving their furniture, in part, through the kind inter- 
position of the Hon, S. McD. Moore, few facilities were 
afforded them to do so ; and the torch was applied, while 
helpless females were endeavoring to save their little 
stores, and their quarters, and many of their personal 
effects were destroyed. 

"Every public document connected with the operation 
of the Institute, foimd in my office (and there were 
many copies of the various annual reports and 
registers), were destroyed or removed. My private 
library was rifled of many of its most valuable and 
portable volumes, and the portraits of Ex-Governors 
McDowell, Wise, and Letcher, which occupied promi- 
nent positions in it, were removed. 

"The houses of our poorest operatives, including 
seamstresses, laundresses, and laborers, were searched. 

The Virginia Military Institute 371 

in common with those of the citizens generally, and some 
of those persons were left in destitute, and almost 
starving, condition. The kindness of friends in Lex- 
ington had opened their homes to receive the trunks and 
effects of cadets. Such houses were made the peculiar 
objects of vindictive spoliation. 

"Our shoe shop was despoiled of all its leather, and 
vmfinished work; and the shoe lasts, implements and 
benches were there wantonly destroyed. 

"The bell attached to our pubhc clock was taken down 
and removed, and the beautiful bronze copy of 
Houdon's Washington, by the gifted and lamented 
Hubard, after being mutilated in the effort to take it 
from its pedestal, was removed.* 

"All the regular negro servants of the institution 
showed a marked fidelity. Our trusty baker, Anderson, 
the property of the Institute, was stripped of every- 
thing, and on being asked whether he had made him- 
self known as belonging to the State, promptly repHed, 
'No, indeed, — if I had told the Yankees that, they 
would have burnt me up, with the other State 
property.' " 

In discussing the lack of justification for Himter's 
acts, the presentation of the Superintendent can hardly 
be improved upon. He wrote: 

"It was to have been expected that the cadets should 
be pursued, that they might be either killed or captm-ed. 
They asked no immunities from the rigors of war meted 
to others. The arms and munitions of war were proper 
subjects for capture or destruction. Its public build- 
ings might have been held by the enemy as a barracks 
or hospital, and the school itself dispersed. But modern 
history is appealed to in vain for a like instance of 
desolation, as marked the track of the invader here. 
The cities of Europe have often been held by hostile 
armies, and have often been given up to sack and 

♦William J. Hubard, the sculptor-artist was blown up in February, 1862, 
while experimenting with a highly explosive compound of his own Invention, 
in his foundry in Richmond, which he had turned over to the service of the 
Confederate Bureau of Ordnance. 

372 The Military History of 

pillage; but institutions of learning, whether military 
or not, have been usually protected from the devasta- 
tion attendant upon the entrance of armies into forti- 
fied towns. Even in civil war, Oxford and Cambridge 
were alternately held by the contending armies; but 
their halls and their courts, their libraries and their 
archives, were preserved and still remain, to show how 
civilization may ameliorate the rigors of war. True, 
the School of Engineers at Mezieres, in which the cele- 
brated Monge taught, and that of Artillery at La Fere, 
in common with all the Schools of France, from the Uni- 
versity down, were destroyed by the madness of the un- 
restrained Republican mobs. Lavoisier was murdered, 
as the repubhc had no need of chemists. But these law- 
less acts were not excused, or justified, by the leaders of 
the French Revolution themselves. On the contrary, 
they were made the argument by which Monge and 
Fourcay established the Polytechnic School, and begged, 
for the purpose, the use of the old Palais Bourbon for 
the inauguration of their truly revolutionary School. 
But General Hunter commanded an organized army 
of the United States, whose professed mission was the 
'restoration of the Union' ; and, yet, it was by his order, 
and against the remonstrances of some of his own gen- 
eral officers, that the public buildings of the Virginia 
Military Institute were conmiitted to the flames ; and the 
threat was made by him that the University of Virginia 
should soon share a like fate. He is not only responsible 
for an act deliberately executed, but for the effort 
clearly manifested to consign to utter destruction every 
record that could mark the character of history or be- 
ing, of the Virginia Military Institute." 

After the destruction of the Institute, Hunter sent 
Averellon to Buchanan on the 13th, with orders to 
drive McCausland out of the way, and secure the bridge 
over the James River at that place. On the 14th, hear- 
ing that Breckinridge had reached Rockfish Gap, and 
that Early was moving to the Valley, he left Lexington 
with his whole force for Buchanan. On the 15th, he 

The Virginia Military Institute 373 

marched over the Blue Ridge by the Peaks of Otter 
road toward Lynchburg. 

From June 3d to 6th the desperate battle of Cold 
Harbor was fought. Late on the 12th, Early, then in 
command of the 2d, or Ewell's Corps, received orders 
to proceed with it to the Valley to oppose Hunter's 
progress. When he left his position near Gaines's Mill, 
about 2 A. M. the 13th, Grant had already put his army 
in motion to cross the James River below Richmond. 
With the 8,000 men of his Corps, and Nelson's and 
Braxton's Battahons of Artillery, Early reached 
Charlottesville, a distance of over 90 miles, on the 16th. 
Upon reaching Charlottesville, he learned by a dispatch 
from Breckinridge, who with his division had made a 
forced march from Rockfish Gap to Lynchburg, that 
Hunter was marching on that point. At sunrise on the 
17th, about half of Early's command started by train 
on cars collected dvu-ing the night, for Lynchburg, 60 
miles distant. Rodes's, and a part of Gordon's di- 
visions, and the artillery, started by road. When Ram- 
seur's division and one of Gordon's brigades reached 
the city late the afternoon of the 17th, Hunter was 
rapidly approaching, opposed only by Imboden with a 
mere handful of cavalry. Breckinridge had been un- 
able, by reason of injuries received at Cold Harbor, to 
exercise active command since his arrival, but under 
the direction of Generals D. H. Hill and Hays (who 
happened to be in the city), a line of hasty intrench- 
ments had been thrown up on College Hill, covering the 
tm-npike and Forest roads from Liberty. This line 
had been occupied by the infantry of Breckinridge's 
division as it arrived, and the dismounted cavalry of 
Jones's command, which had been defeated at Pied- 
mont, on the 5th, while the Corps of Cadets, the Re- 
serves, and a number of military casuals from the 
hospitals and shops, were placed in small works in other 

Early decided that the defensive lines which had been 
hastily estabUshed were too close, and, that resistance 

374 The Military History or 

offered in them would only bring about the destruction 
of the city. But he had little time to construct others. 
Finding Imboden in a work on Diamond Hill, about 
five miles west of the city, strongly intrenched and op- 
posing Averell, he decided to move his troops, which 
were fast arriving, out to Imboden's position near the 
Quaker Church. Averell, however, attacked about 4 
p. M.^ and drove Imboden from his works. 

Early now estabhshed a line across the road over 
which Averell was advancing, about two miles west of 
the city, where a redoubt had been constructed, and 
ordered up the two brigades of Ramseur's division, and 
the one of Gordon's which had reached Lynchburg. 
These troops arrested the progress of the Federals, who 
contented themselves the rest of the day with a can- 

Hunter's advance troops camped on the battlefield 
that night, having captured a gun, and 70 of Imboden's 

The Federal commander now learned of the presence 
of Breckinridge's division, and inferred from the con- 
stant running of trains, and the cheering of troops, dur- 
ing the night, that reinforcements were arriving. The 
next morning he learned that Early's division had ar- 
rived, and erroneously estimated the numbers of the 
force opposed to him at between 10,000 and 15,000 

On the morning of the 18th, Early placed Breckin- 
ridge's division in the front line of works, consisting of 
a redoubt on each road, with connecting rifle pits, along 
which there was much artillery firing and skirmishing. 
In the afternoon, and before Rodes's division had ar- 
rived, Dufiie's brigade on the extreme Federal left at- 
tacked just to the right of the Forestville road, while 
Averell sent a small force of cavalry to demonstrate 
against the Campbell Courthouse road, on the extreme 
right. The attack was repulsed about 2 p. m. Although 
Hunter says himself that he ordered this attack, he 
describes the affair as a "bloody repulse" for Breckin- 

The Virginia Military Institute 375 

ridge who, he says, was discouraged from further activi- 
ties that day. 

As soon as the remainder of his infantry arrived, 
Early completed his arrangements for attacking 
Hunter, at daybreak on the 19th. 

Up to this time, the cadets, in a drizzUng rain, had 
remained in position in a graveyard, near the present 
residence of Mr. John Langhorne, in the secondary line 
close behind the point of Duffie's attack, a renewal of 
which the following morning, was confidently ex- 
pected. About 10 o'clock that night, orders came for 
the Corps to move to the front, to relieve the troops in 
the sahent in their front, who had been under fire since 

"When the Corps was formed in line. Colonel Shipp, 
in low tones, explained the nature of the service, and 
the importance of silence. We were warned not to 
speak, and, as the night was very black, each man was 
instructed to place his left hand upon the cartridge box 
of the man in front of him, so as to keep distance and 
alignment. Thus formed, we proceeded to the bastion, 
and entered it in gloomy silence. The troops occupying 
it were drawn up as we entered, and glided out after 
we were in, like shadows out of darkness. 

"The place was horrible. The fort was new, and 
constructed of stiff red clay. The rain had wet the 
soil, and the feet of the nien who had been there had 
kneaded the mud into dough. There was no place to 
lie down. All that a man could do was to sit plump 
down in the mud, upon the low banquette, with his 
gun across his lap. I could not resist peeping over the 
parapet, and there, but a short distance from us, in a 
little valley, were the smouldering camp-fires of the 
enemy. Wrapping my blanket about me, its ends 
tucked imder me, so as to keep out the moisture from 
the red clay as much as possible, I fell asleep, hugging 
my rifle, never doubting that there would be work for 
both of us at daybreak. 

"I must have slept soimdly, for when I awoke it was 
broad daylight. The men were beginning to talk aloud. 

376 The Military History of 

and several were exposing themselves freely. No 
enemy appeared in our front. He was gone."* 

The writer has been told by a number of those in the 
Corps at this time that the night they spent in that 
dark bastion, almost in speaking distance of the enemy, 
was by long odds the most trying ordeal they experi- 
enced during the war — certainly while cadets. 

Believing that a force of 20,000 Confederates was 
confronting him, Hunter, ere night fell, determined to 
retire. Leaving a line of pickets in contact with the 
enemy imtil midnight, to screen his movements, he 
commenced his withdrawal as soon as it was dark, and 
did not halt until his main body reached a point 18 
miles west of Lynchburg. 

Although the withdrawal of the Federals was dis- 
covered by Early shortly after midnight, he was unable 
to fathom the meaning of the movement, but at day- 
break took up the pursuit, and overtook Hunter's 
rear-guard at Liberty (Bedford City), just before 

From Liberty, Hunter retreated across the Blue 
Ridge through Buford's Gap which he entered on the 
morning of the 20th, and then proceeded by Bonsack's 
Station to Salem, where he arrived next day. 

Ramseur had followed closely upon the heels of 
Hunter's flying army and, attacking his rear-guard at 
Salem, secured 8 pieces of artillery abandoned by the 
enemy. From Salem, Hunter's route lay through 
Catawba Valley, New Castle, Greenbrier White 
Sulphur Springs, Lewisburg, Meadow Bluff, and 
Gauley, to Charleston. The haste with which he moved 
is shown by the fact that he reached New Castle on the 
22d, Lewisburg on the 25th, and Gauley on the 27th, 
arriving at Charleston on the 30th. McGausland had 
hung upon, and harassed, his rear to the limit of the 
endurance of his men and horses ; but the pursuers were 
simply outmarched.** 

♦End of an Bra, J. S. Wise. 

••Upon arriving at the White Sulphur Springs, Hunter gave orders to destroy 
the buildings, but Captain du Pont, knowing that a protest would be of no avail, 
resorted to the clever scheme of suggesting that the place be saved as a possible 
Cavalry post. This suggestion alone saved it. 

The Virginia Military Institute 377 

Thus ended the expedition which, by combining the 
columns of Hunter and Sheridan at Lynchburg, was 
expected to destroy Lee's communications, and enable 
the two forces to join Grant. Hampton, by defeating 
Sheridan at Trevilian's, on the 11th and 12th of June, 
prevented the junction of the two forces at Lynchburg, 
and Early, though greatly outnumbered by Hunter, 
sent him flying back to the Kanawha, almost without 
a fight. Like all vandals, Hunter was better at destroy- 
ing defenseless homes than assaulting breastworks. 

The cadets took no part in the pursuit of Hunter, 
and leaving Lynchburg on the 24th, arrived in Lex- 
ington by canal boats on the 25th. 

The Institute was a charred ruin, so that the Corps 
was temporarily quartered in the buildings of Wash- 
ington College, which were kindly loaned for the 

The cadets found the ruins of the Institute so de- 
pressing that after their first inspection, they carefuUy 
avoided the place. Not satisfied with the complete 
desolation of Virginia's School of Arms, certain men of 
Hunter's command from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New 
York, and Massachusetts, wrote obscene and insulting 
messages over their names upon the walls of the de- 
mohshed buildings, conduct inspired by their bitter rec- 
ollection of the cadets at New Market, less than one 
month before. Nor was this spirit confined to the en- 
listed men of Hunter's Army, for the coarsely-defaced 
and mutilated record book of the Dialectic Literary 
Society was found with the following note, among 
others, written in pencil, after the entry of the pro- 
ceedings of May 7, 1864: 

"Headquarters, U. S. Dept. of W. Va., 

"LexingtoNj June 12, 1864. 

"The next meeting of the Di was probably interfered with by 
the threatening advance of the Yankees under Sigel, who marched 
up the Valley of Virginia against them. The cadets and other 
Southern forces defeated Sigel at New Market, but three weeks 
afterwards, in a battle at Piedmont, near Weyer's Cave, Gen. 

378 The Military History or 

Hunter, Sigel's successor, utterly routed their force, and took 
1,000 prisoners. At this moment, the Virginia Military Institute 
is a mass of flames. 

"John E. Meigs, 
"1st Lt. Corps of Eng'rs, U. S. A., and Chief Eng., 

"Dept. of W. Va." 

John Rodgers Meigs, of Washington, D. C, was 
a graduate of West Point, in the Class of 1863. It is 
stated in official records that he was killed by partisans 
October 3, 1864, near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It is 
difficult to believe that he could have merited the brevet 
he received for gallant and meritorious service at the 
battle of Fisher's Hill, in September, and we can not 
refrain from comparing him in our minds with the 
noble, chivalrous Colonel "Sandy" Pendleton, of Lex- 
ington, who forfeited his life in that same battle. 
Magnanimity is a virtue which we expect of soldiers, 
more especially of officers. We should have thought 
his admiration for the institution where Jackson had 
served, and his personal observation at New Market 
of the heroism of the cadets, would have touched the 
sympathy, rather than aroused the bitter passions, of 
an officer of Meigs's training. 

Now as a matter of fact, Meigs was not killed by 
partisans. The following accoimt of his death will 
throw more light on his character. It is taken from the 
Confederate Veteran of March, 1914, and is written 
by J. K. Taliaferro of Remington, Virginia. 

"Having noticed in the December number of the Veteran a copy 
of a report from General Sheridan from Woodstock, October 7, 
1864, in which he states that Lieut. John R. Meigs, his engineer 
officer, was murdered near Dayton, in consequence of which he had 
all houses within an area of five miles burned, I consider it due our 
cause that the readers of the Veteran and public should be informed 
as to how Lieutenant Meigs came to his death. He was shot and 
kiUed by Private George W. Martin, a true and brave soldier of 
Company H, 4th Virginia Cavalry (Black Horse Company, of this 
county), in a hand-to-hand fight after Martin was shot by Meigs 
through his right lung and was supposed to be mortally wounded. 

"The circumstances, as stated by F. M. Campbell, a member 
of the same company, who was frequently sent out from brigade 

The Virginia Military Institute 379 

headquarters to ascertain and report the location and movements 
of the enemy, were as follows : 

"Campbell selected yoimg Martin and a member of the 1st 
Virginia Regiment of Cavalry to accompany him on this occasion. 
It was a misty, raw morning, and they all had on their overcoats 
and were either inside or very near the enemy's lines. They 
observed three cavalrymen approaching, and as they met each 
selected his man to fight or capture. Martin faced Meigs, as the 
other two did his attendants, and demanded a surrender. All threw 
up their hands ; and when Meigs was supposed to be taking off his 
arms he shot Martin from under his cape. While falling from his 
horse Martin returned the fire and instantly killed him. Martin 
was desperately wounded and suffered from the effects of the 
wound to the day of his death, which occurred about ten years ago. 

"Shortly after the surrender General Meigs, the father of the 
Lieutenant, no doubt influenced by General Sheridan's statement, 
offered a reward of $1,000 for the delivery to him of young Martin, 
in consequence of which Martin went to a secluded section of 
Missouri and remained there until the war excitement had subsided 
and General Meigs had been satisfied by statements of those who 
knew the circumstances that his son lost his life in a fair conflict. 

"I write this in justice to the memory of an intimate friend and 
comrade whose courage and coolness never faltered in facing a foe, 
but who never sought to take a life without giving an opportunity 
for surrender or defense." 

On the 27th, the fourteen members of the First Class 
were graduated, and the Corps was furloughed and 
ordered to report for duty in Lexington, September 1st. 

"Headquartehs, Virginia Military Institute, 

"June 27, 1864. 
"General Orders — No. 20. 

"I. Under the authority of the Board of Visitors, all cadets 
now on duty with the Institute, who have it in their power to go 
to their homes, or to the homes of their friends, are placed on 
furlough until the first of September, from this date. 

"II. Those cadets who are unable to go to their homes, or to 
the homes of their friends, will be cared for by the Institute, and, 
to this end, they will immediately report to the Commandant of 
Cadets that they may be duly organized and placed in camp, and 
they will constitute under the law the guard of the public property. 
"III. The Commissary and Steward will report to the Super- 
intendent for instructions relative to the subsistence of the Guard, 
and of the employees of the Institute. 

"By command'of Major-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. Inst." 

380 The Military History of 

By a subsequent order of the Board of Visitors, all 
members of the New Market Corps who did not re- 
turn to the Institute were granted diplomas, so that 
the number of graduates for 1864 was 259, of which 
number 14 were First Classmen, 64 Second Classmen, 
and 181 Third and Fourth Classmen. 

The Cadet OiRcers for 1864-65 were announced, as 
follows : 

Staff — Adjutant, Woodbridge ; Quartermaster, Davenport; 
Sergeant-Major, Henry; Quartermaster-Sergeant, Crichton. 
Captains — 1. Ross. 2. Stuart. 3. Evans. 4. Pizzini. 
First Lts. — 1. Shaw. 2. Echols. 3. Wise, L. 4. Nelson. 
Second Lts.— 1. Duncan. 2. Douglas. 3. Martin, W. 4. Patton. 
Orderly Sergeants — 1. Hayes, T. 2. Royster. 3. Glazebrook. 

4. Marshall, A. 

Sergeants — 1. Wood, J. 2. Ridley, R. 3. Barney. 4. Din- 
widdie. 5. Barton. 6. James, J. 7. Atwill.* 8. Lee, F. 

9. Tunstall, J. 10. Jarratt. 11. Triplett. 12. Penn. 18. Davis, A. 
14. Wise, J. 15. Ezekiel. 16. Thomson, P. 

Corporals — 1. Cocke, P. 2. Cocke, W. 3. Smith, W. 4. Stacker. 

5. Dillard. 6. Smith, F. 7. Crawford. 8. Marks. 9. Kennedy- 

10. Taylor, W. 11. Taylor, C. 12. McCorkle. 13. Redwood. 
14. Washington. 15. Moorman. 16. Johnson, P. 

♦Died later from wound received at New Market. 

The Virginia Military Institute 381 




No sooner had the cadets been furloughed on the 
Washington College campus than the Superintendent, 
with that indomitable will which characterized him, set 
to work to prepare for the reopening of the Institute, 
September 1st. 

"Perish the thought," wrote he, "that the Virginia 
Military Institute is destroyed, or that bricks and 
mortar constituted the great military school of Vir- 
ginia. That, thank God, still hves in the heart and af- 
fections of the South, — and in the vigor and manhood 
of its noble sons, and in the confidence and power of 
the State of Virginia which estabhshed it. It was no 
more in the power of General Hunter to destroy the 
Virginia Military Institute than it has been in the 
power of his government to destroy that under which 
we live. Both remain, as providentially preserved and 
designed, to vindicate the cause of truth and right."* 

These are noble words and express the same senti- 
ment contained in the letter which General Robert E. 
Lee addressed to the Superintendent, shortly after he 
learned of Hunter's act of vandalism. 

"Camp Petersburg, July 4, 1864. 

"I have grieved over the destruction of the Military Institute. 
But the good that has been done to the country can not be destroyed, 
nor can its name or fame perish. It will rise stronger than before, 
and continue to diffuse its benefits to a grateful people. Under 
your wise administration, there will be no suspension of its use- 
fulness. The difficulties by which it is surrounded will call forth 
greater energies from its oflScers and increased diligence from its 
pupils. Its prosperity I consider certain. 

"With great regard, yours very truly, 

"R. E. Lee. 
"Gen. F. H. Smith." 

•Report to Board of Visitors, July 15, 1664. 

382 The Military History or 

No wonder, with such an assurance of the expecta- 
tions of the great Lee himself, that the Superintendent 
called a meeting of the Board of Visitors for July 15th, 
at which to consider the matter of reopening the 

In his report to the Board, the Superintendent wrote: 

"The necessity of making immediate provisions for 
carrying on the institution, and of devising ways and 
means for accommodating the cadets, ad interim, pre- 
sents great difficulties, and the whole subject requires 
mature consideration. The question is so nearly alUed 
to that of the permanent reorganization of the School, 
that the two must necessarily be considered together; 
and in this light I have viewed them." 

And again: 

"The Board of Visitors meets to-day to discharge 
their high function in giving vigor to the institution, and 
speedy restoration to whatever has been destroyed. I 
have been diligently engaged, in obedience to its orders, 
in preparing outhnes of thought for their consideration ; 
and although 25 years of almost unintermitted toil in 
building up and superintending this great School, have 
exhausted in a great degree the vigor of manhood, I am 
ready to devote whatever of health or of strength may 
be left or vouchsafed me to the work of restoration, 
until the Virginia Military Institute is placed in all 
its pristine glory. 

"Should the institution be rebuilt on its present loca- 
tion, the public interest would be promoted by having 
its temporary organization at some convenient point in 
this neighborhood. In this event, the Rockbridge 
Baths, the Rockbridge Alvim Springs, and the Lexing- 
ton Hotel have been suggested ; and any of these estab- 
lishments, it is presumed, may be rented as barracks for 
the cadets. Each has some conveniences, particularly 
in tableware and furniture, which would greatly 
facilitate the operations of the School, while each has 
its drawbacks to balance against its advantages. As 

The Vieginia Military Institute 383 

an alternate proposition, it has been suggested, that 
log or plank huts be constructed, either on the grounds 
of the Institute, or at some other locality convenient to 
wood and water. If an established building can not 
be readily secured, the plan is practicable, and may be 
combined with tents, and give ample provision for the 
accommodation of the cadets. Rooms may be rented 
for lecture purposes, and for storeroom and hospital; 
and this plan may be foimd the most available, under 
present circumstances, if the institution shall be located 

"Should it be determined to give another location to 
the permanent reorganization of the institution, the 
Lynchburg College, the Montgomery White Sulphur 
Springs, and the Buckingham Female Institute, have 
been named as suitable places for a temporary occup- 
ancy, while the buildings of Randolph-Macon College 
have been kindly tendered to us by its president, the 
Rev. W. A. Smith, D. D. Expense of living would 
oppose a temporary establishment, in time of war, in 
the vicinity of a large town; and with this principal 
regulating the decision, any large establishment, af- 
fording sufficient houseroom, with tableware and furni- 
ture at command, and, at the same time, affording full 
facilities of wood and water, would answer our wants." 

General Smith then presented a detailed plan for the 
restoration of the Institute, and the reorganization of 
the School along the broadest imaginable lines, with an 
enumeration of the many reasons for its reestabhshment 
in Lexington, and a statement that the people of Lynch- 
burg were willing to advance the funds for the erection 
of the necessary buildings, should the Institute be re- 
built in 'that city. It is difficult to understand how one 
whose hfe had been for a quarter of a century a struggle 
against apparently insurmountable difficulties, could be 
as optimistic as General Smith. It can only be ex- 
plained by the fact that his heart was in his work, and, 
that being so, the will would make the way. 

384 The Military History of 

Until late in the svinuner, he cherished the hope that 
arrangements could be made for the resumption of 
academic duties in Lexington; but by the middle of 
August, he was compelled to recognize that this could 
not be done at the time appointed. The following order 
was then published and widely circulated: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Lexington, Va., August 13, 1864. 

"General Orders — ^No. 22. 

"I. The exercises of this Institution will he resumed at 
Lexington on the 1st day of October, on which day all officers and 
furloughed cadets will promptly report for duty. 

"II. As the supplies of the Institution, embracing clothing, 
books, and subsistence stores, were destroyed by the public enemy, 
it is essential that each cadet shall bring with him a full supply 
of underclothing, one grey jacket, one pair of grey pants, one over- 
coat, two pairs of shoes, single mattress and bedding, four towels, 
comb, hairbrush, and toothbrush, and also a knife and fork. 
Mattresses can be bought here. 

"III. If grey cloth can be bought by the cadets, the clothes 
can be made up at the Institute. 

"IV. Each cadet will bring with him a list of his clothing to 
be filed with the Quartermaster. 

"V. The difficulty, if not impossibility, of securing full supplies 
of meat, suggest the necessity of each cadet bringing with him 100 
pounds of bacon. The amount brought will be credited to his 
expense account at the Government rates. 

"VI. Each cadet will also bring with him the class books 
which may be required, as far as practicable. In the 4th Class, 
Smith's or Bourdon's Algebra, Legendre's Geometry, Levizac's 
French Grammar and Gil Bias. In the 3d Class, Smith's Analytical 
Geometry, and Davies' Descriptive Geometry. In the 2d Class, 
Courtnay's Calculus, are the books needed. 

"VII. Temporary brick cabins are now in course of con- 
struction for the accommodation of the cadets. The wanton de- 
struction of the barracks and other public buildings by the enemy, 
will deprive the cadets of the usual conveniences supplied them, but 
the patriotic spirit which animates the whole people will make 
them cheerfully endure many discomforts, until the Institution can 
be restored to its original condition. 

"By command of Ma j or-General F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

ASSISTAJs'T Feofessor 1848-1851 
Peofessoe 1860-1864 

The Virginia Military Institute 385 

But as fall approached, it was obvious even to the 
energetic and optimistic Superintendent that he could 
not, with the facilities available, conduct the School in 
Lexington, even were the cabins referred to completed 
on time.* There were more insurmountable difficulties 
than the lack of suitable quarters, among which were 
those of securing supplies, and the exposed position of 
Lexington, for the Confederate troops in Virginia were 
now concentrated about Richmond and Petersburg, with 
the exception of Early's command in the Valley, which 
was opposed by a greatly superior force, under 
Sheridan. In the event of Early's defeat by Sheridan 
the Valley would be open again to the invaders; and, 
as Grant had transferred Sheridan to the command of 
the Federal Army in the Valley, with the avowed 
purpose of overrunning it and reducing it to a state of 
utter desolation, the prospect of an uninterrupted oc- 
cupation of Lexington was not a bright one. The idea 
of expending a large amount of money upon new build- 
ings and equipment, under such circumstances, was out 
of the question. 

Accordingly, the Board, at the persistent requests of 
the Confederate Government, directed that the Corps 
be reassembled on the postponed date, October 1st, at 
Camp Lee, instead of at Lexington, while arrangements 
for the resumption of academic work were being com- 

Colonels Preston, Gilham, Williamson, and Massie 
of the permanent faculty were on hand at the time ap- 
pointed, and the Board fixed November 1st as the date 
for the resumption of academic duties. Meantime, the 
Corps was to be reorganized and reequipped, during the 
month of Octpber. 

Although it had been imderstood by the Board of 
Visitors and the Superintendent that the Corps of 

•These cabins were small two-storied brick structures erected on the hillside 
between the site of Barracks and the Mess Hall. There were four of them. 
They were torn down in 1903 and 1909, when the present Administration Build- 
ing and Maury-Brook Hall were erected, respectively. It was In them that the 
cadets were quartered when the Institute was reopened after the war, September 
10, 1866. 


386 The Military History of 

Cadets would be placed under the nominal command of 
General Kemper, commanding the Reserve Forces of 
Virginia, they had believed that the cadets would be 
exempted from field service, so that serious application 
to academic work might be secured. But almost im- 
mediately upon the appearance of the first cadets at 
Camp Lee, the following order was issued: 

"Headquarters, Reserve Forces, 

"October 3, 1864. 
"Special Orders — No. 102. 

"The commencement of the next regular session of the Virginia 
Military Institute having been postponed until the 1st of November 
next, all cadets vrho are not under seventeen years of age and not 
already assigned to duty in the field by orders from the War De- 
partment, or from these headquarters, are hereby required to report 
without delay to Maj. T. G. Peyton, commandant of the camp of 
instruction at Camp Lee, near Richmond, for immediate and 
temporary field-service. Cadets under seventeen years of age are 
also earnestly invited to report at once for assignment to duty. 

"All furloughs and exemptions, heretofore granted to cadets, are, 
by command of the Secretary of War, revoked. 

"The cadets will be released from field-service by or before the 
commencement of the session of the Institute. 
"By order of Major-General Kemper, 

"R. H. Catlett, 

"Assistant Adjutant-General." 

Upon the publication of this order, the Superin- 
tendent, alarmed by what he deemed an arbitrary as- 
sumption of authority over the Corps of Cadets, 
addressed a protest to the Adjutant- General of 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"October 8, 1864. 

"Major-General William H. Richardson, 
' ' Adj utant-General. 

"General — I have this moment seen Special Orders No. 102, 
from the headquarters of the reserve forces, dated October 3, 1864, 
a copy of which I herewith enclose. The authority exercised by 
the Confederate authorities over the cadets of the Virginia Military 
Institute, under these orders, is directly in conflict with the in- 

The Virginia Military Institute 387 

structions which I have received from the Governor of Virginia, 
under your order of October 14, 1862, and of the Special Order 
given to me personally by His Excellency, Governor Smith, in June, 
1864. I feel myself embarrassed in my duty under the circum- 
stances which surround the case. I extract the closing paragraph 
of your order of October 14, 1862. 

" 'The Governor, in view of all these important facts, feels it 
to be incumbent upon him to direct the Superintendent of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute not to surrender any cadet who may be 
claimed as a conscript by the Confederate authority, until the 
constitutionality of the act of Congress, called the "Conscript Law," 
shall have been tested, the legislative will of the State ascertained, 
or until further orders.' 

"The authorities of the Virginia Military Institute have no dis- 
position to withhold the cadets from the service of the country in 
this hour of its peril and need. They have promptly sanctioned 
their service, without stint and at costly -sacrifice of blood, to the 
cause of the country. But the State, through its Military Institute, 
stands as a guardian, in her soverei^ capacity, to these young 
soldiers, and it seems to be but just and proper that when their 
services are required on the field of battle they should be sent 
forth under the authority of the State whose servants they are, that 
the care and protection which has been assumed and promised to 
them may be rendered. Where thus rallied around the standard of 
the country, they will present an organized Virginia command which 
may be extended to embrace many others who would promptly 
rally around the Virginia Military Institute, and by their efiiciency 
render valuable service, without detriment to their morals. 

"If Special Orders, No. 102, be persisted in, the organization 
of the Military Institute will be destroyed, and I apprehend the 
worst of consequences to the individual members of the Institute. 

"I remain. General, very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

"Francis H. Smith, 
"Brevet Major-General and Superintendent."* 

Upon receipt of this protest the Adjutant- General 
of Virginia obtained assurances from the Secretary of 
War that no intention of dispersing the cadets, or inter- 
fering with the conduct of the Institute, was entertained, 
and that the Corps would only be used under the most 
emergent conditions. 

Prompt steps were now taken by the Secretary of 
War and General Kemper to reassemble the tactical 
officers of the Institute. Captains Henry A. Wise, 

♦Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. Ill, pp. 722-723. 

388 The Military Histoky or 

Frank Preston, and T. B. Robinson, were ordered to 
report for duty with the Corps of Cadets,* and on the 
14th of October the Secretary of War reassigned Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Scott Shipp to duty as Commandant.** 
On the 22d, First Lieutenant C. Y. Steptoe, Adjutant 
44th Virginia Infantry, was detailed by the Secretary 
of War, to complete the tactical staff, f 

New cadets had reported in large numbers, and in 
addition to the appointment of many Confederate 
Cadets, the Secretary of War assigned no less than 
seven young conscripts to duty with the Corps at one 
time. But very few of the cadets furloughed at Lex- 
ington oh June 27th rejoined, for most of them had 
found berths in the various armies of the Confederacy. 
The record of those who returned is imperfect. Late 
in January, there were but 50 cadets in the Third Class, 
and in March there were but 22 in the Second Class ; so, 
in all probability, not more than 100 old cadets reported 
for duty October 1, 1864; but before the end of the 
month not less than 150 new cadets had matriculated. 
Academic work in camp was out of the question, but 
in this the Confederate Government was not particu- 
larly interested. Its purpose in urging the reorganiza- 
tion of the Corps was a strictly miUtary one. So long 
as the art of war was taught, and military training im- 
parted to a large nvmiber of Southern youth, its ex- 
pectations were fulfilled. This it demanded with an 
insistence which is the best evidence of its regard for the 
work of the institution in the past, from which it had 
profited so much. Besides, there were many military 
duties the cadets could perform, and they were in 
constant demand for such purposes. 

The Corps had hardly begun to assemble when it was 
called upon by General Ewell, commanding the De- 
partment of Richmond, to furnish details on October 
5th and 7th to receive about a thousand paroled Con- 
's. O. No. Ill, Reserve Forces of Va., Oct. 14, 1864 ; S. O. No. 117, Oct. 
18, 1864. 

**S. O. No. 244, A. & I. G. O., Oct. 14, 1864. 
tS. O. No. 251, A. & I. G. 0., Oct. 22, 1864. 

The Virginia Military Institute 389 

federate prisoners at Cox's wharf in Rocketts, under a 
flag of truce.* 

On the 27th of October, the Army of the Potomac, 
leaving only sufficient men in the trenches around 
Petersburg to maintain them against Lee, moved by 
the Confederate right. The Second Corps, followed by 
two divisions of the Fifth Corps, with the cavalry in 
advance and covering the Federal left flank, forced a 
passage over Hatcher's Run, and moved up south of 
it toward the South-Side Railroad, imtil the Second 
Corps, and part of the cavalry, reached the Boydton 
Plank Road where it crosses Hatcher's Run. At this 
point, the Federals were but six miles distant from the 
railroad which Grant had expected to reach and hold. 
But A. P. Hill met Hancock's Corps, and, after a 
desperate conflict, the Federals returned to their works 
about Petersburg. 

In support of this movement, General Butler was 
directed to make a demonstration on the north side of 
the James, and attacked the enemy on the Wilhamsburg 
Road, and also along the York River Railroad. In the 
latter quarter, the Federals succeeded in taking a 
work which was soon abandoned.** This attack ex- 
tended from the Darbytown Road to the Yorktown 
Road, the main fighting being near Fair Oaks. Butler 
states in his report that he kept the column of the 10th 
Corps, imder Terry, and the colunm of the 18th Corps, 
under Weitzel (which assaulted Longstreet's lines on 
the 27th) , in position, inviting attack until noon of the 
next day.t 

It was during the fighting on the 27th, that the 
Secretary of War directed the Commandant to report 
with the Corps of Cadets to Lieutenant- General 
J. C. Pemberton, commanding the artillery defenses. | 
Pemberton who had organized the departmental em- 
ployees into a reserve force, at once directed Colonel 

•Original orders in possession of General Shipp. 

••Kebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XLVI, Part 1, p. 31, Report of Gen. TJ. S. 

tRebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XLII, Part 1, p. 23. 

tS. O. No. 256, A. & I. G. O., October 27, 1864. Original in Gen. Shipp's 

390 The Military Histoey of 

Shipp to march out to the junction of the WilUams- 
burg Road and the intermediate hne of works, and to 
report to Lieutenant-Colonel Atkinson, commanding 
the First District, Artillery Defenses. 

Upon arriving at Poe's farm, it was learned by the 
cadets that the enemy had been repulsed. Field's 
Division of Longstreet's Corps having taken seven 
stands of colors; but the Corps of Cadets was ordered 
to go into permanent camp as an infantry support for 
the nearby battery.* 

While in this camp the service of the cadets con- 
sisted of daily drills and the usual picket and guard 
duty of a command in the field. The season was a 
severe one, and the discomforts experienced at Poe's 
farm were exceptionally trying. The Corps was 
sheltered in tents without walls or flies, and it became 
necessary as the winter approached to bank the tents 
with earth, and build fireplaces and chimneys with bricks 
and mortar. As the cadets were not skilled chimneys 
builders, the occupancy of these tents was very disagree- 
able in cold weather, when green wood had to be used 
for fuel. 

It should be noted here that the Corps of Cadets now 
comprised a part of the Confederate forces of the De- 
-partment of Richmond, Lieutenant- General Ewell 
commanding, and was under the direct control of the 
Secretary of War. It had not been subject to the State 
authority since its departure from Camp Lee where 
it had been held in camp as a part of the Reserve Forces 
of Virginia. 

November 10th, the District Commander requested 
the Commandant to furnish him with five cadet drill- 
masters for King's company of Reserve Artillery. For 
the next two weeks this command was drilled by the 
cadets detailed for the purpose from 2 :30 to 3 :30 p. m.^ 

During the summer of 1864, a tremendous effort was 
made by the War Department to cause the States to» 

•Ijee's Official Dispatch, Oct. 27, 1864. 

The Virginia Military Institute 391 

create reserve forces for garrison and other special 
duties, in order that the regular line regiments might 
be freed from such demands, and enabled to join the 
armies in the field. Accordingly, South Carolina 
undertook the organization of a command known as the 
Foreign Battalion, of which the men were recruited 
from among the foreigners in the various cities of the 
State. Some of these men were Federal prisoners who 
were willing enough to serve in either army, so long as 
their pay was forthcoming. Great difficulty had been 
experienced in securing officers able and willing to 
command these "Galvanized Yankees," as they were 
called. At the outset they mutinied and attempted to 
murder their officers. They were mingled in regard 
to nationaUty and showed no desire to fight. The ex- 
pedient of securing young officers from the Institute 
for the Battalion was adopted by Lieutenant-Colonel 
I. G. Tucker, commanding, and during the summer the 
Commandant was requested to recommend a number 
of recent graduates for the office of Captain of Compan- 
ies F, G, and H, First Foreign Battalion. Early in 
November, he was informed that five more companies 
were to be formed and urged to forward his recom- 
mendations which included among others Collier H. 
Minge, B. A. Colonna, Cary Weston, and W. C. 
Hardy, all of whom had been cadet officers in the New 
Market BattaUon, graduating June 27, 1864. 

All of those recommended were duly elected No- 
vember 17th, and their certificates of election for- 
warded to the Commandant. 

Under date of November 30th, the Commandant re- 
ceived a communication from Lieutenant-Colonel 
Tucker in which the following appeared : 

"Your cadets who have reported have more than come 
up to the expectations the Colonel had formed, and 
give universal satisfaction. Bully for the old V. M. I."* 
In December, the Secretary of War, in order to com- 
plete the commissioned personnel of the First Foreign 

"Original correBpondence In possession of General Shlpp. 

392 The Military History of 

Battalion, which had been organized in Columbia, as- 
signed thereto J. G. Penn, a Confederate cadet, as 
Second Lieutenant Company G.* The Second For- 
eign BattaHon was recruited in Aiken. The First 
Battahon was commanded by Colonna from the time of 
his arrival in South Carolina, and the experiences and 
exploits of this remarkable man furnish material for a 
separate volume. 

The Superintendent had chafed with exceeding 
impatience, throughout the month of November, over 
the detention of the Corps of Cadets in the field, and 
had endeavored in vain to have some other command 
substituted at Poe's farm for it. At last it seemed he 
was to carry his point, when on November 28th, he 
secured the order of the Secretary of War for the cadets 
to be reheved and turned over to the State authorities 
for the purpose of resuming academic work, December 

But it was not to be, for a movement of the enemy was 
that day detected, and the operation of the order was 
at once suspended, t This was most exasperating to the 
Superintendent, but he was not discouraged, for he 
recognized the military exigencies of the situation. 
December 10th, however, the Corps of Cadets was 
finally relieved from duty in the trenches and again 
ordered to report to the Superintendent. :f 

General Smith had meantime been very active in ar- 
ranging for the reopening of the Institute. 

The City of Riclunond had at this time a very fine 
new Almshouse, erected just as the war broke out. 
The people were so poor in 1864, that none could give 
to its support, and the great building stood vacant, and 
had never been used. Knowing this, the resourceful 
Superintendent secured the spacious establishment for 
the use of the Institute, as it was quite suitable to its 
purposes. When the Corps was turned over to him 
he was thoroughly prepared to receive it. 

*S. O. No. 288, A. & I. G. O., Dec. 5, 3 864. 
**S. O. No. 282, A. & I. G. O., Nov. 28, 1864. 
■fS. O. No. 283, A. & I. G. O., Nov. 28, 1864. 
tS. O. No. 293, A. & I. G. O., Dec. 10, 1864. 

The Virginia Military Institute 393 

That day, the Commandant received at Poe's farm 
the following orders : 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Richmond, December 10, 1864. 

"Special Orders — No. 126. 

"I. The Corps of Cadets, having been relieved by the Secre- 
tary of War from their duty in the field and turned over to the 
authorities of the State, will be moved into the Alms House, Rich- 
mond, early Monday morning. 

"II. With the view of enabling those cadets who have not 
been supplied with their outfit of clothing, etc., to visit their homes 
to procure the same, a furlough of 10 days will be allowed to all 
who will give the Superintendent satisfactory evidence that such 
an indulgence is desired by the parent or guardian, and can be 
availed of for the purpose. 

"III. It is believed that cadets on furlough, under existing 
circumstances, will be entitled to transportation bn the railroads 
at the same rates as soldiers on furlough, viz., half price. 

"By command of Major-Gen'l F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"A. A., V. M. I." 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"Richmond, Va., December 10, 1864. 

"General Orders — No. 23. 

"I. The Board of Visitors having directed the temporary 
organization of the Institute at the Alms House, City of Richmond, 
immediate preparations will be made for the occupancy of the same. 

"II. The Acting Asst. Quartermaster will appropriate the 
western wing of the building for the accommodation of the Pro- 
fessors and Officers of the Institute, allowing to each quarters 
according to his rank, and in proportion to the room at his disposal. 
He will designate rooms for the Quartermaster and Commissary 
Stores, for the Adjutant's Office, and a separate room for the stores 
in charge of the Steward, and will see that the keys of each room 
be turned over to the officer in charge of the same, and for which 
he will be held accountable. 

"The mess-room and kitchen, with the rooms and pantries con- 
nected therewith, will be turned over, in like manner, to the 

"After consultation with the Surgeon, one or more rooms will be 
selected in the western wing of the building for hospital purposes, 
and turned over to that officer, and ten rooms in the same wing will 

394 The Militaey History of 

be set apart for Recitation Rooms. Rooms will also be assigned to 
the servants and will be required by them to be kept in good order. 

"III. All the rooms in the central building, except those other- 
wise specially appropriated, will be placed at the disposal of the 
Commandant of Cadets, for the accommodation of the Corps of 
Cadets, under such arrangements and regulations as he may pre- 
scribe, and for this purpose all the keys and public property in 
these rooms will be turned over to the Commandant of Cadets by 
the Acting Asst. Quartermaster. 

"IV. As soon as the cadets are moved into the Alms House, all 
the regulations of police and discipline of the Virginia Military 
Institute will be enforced. 

"V. The building now temporarily to be used for the exercises 
of the Institution has been secured by the liberal courtesy of the 
City Council of Richmond, and every care will be taken, on the 
part of the officers and cadets, that no mutilation, defacement, or 
other injury, be committed in any part of the same. Full pecuniary 
indemnity will not only be required for all such damage, but the 
party, if a cadet, will be subjected to such punishment as may be 
prescribed by the regulations. 

"VI. Every precaution will be made to guard against fires, and 
no wastage of fuel or gas or water will be permitted. 

"By command of Major-Gen'l F. H. Smith, 

"J. H. Morrison, 

"Act. Adjt., r. M. I." 

Most of the Virginia cadets took advantage of the 
furlough authorized, and on December 30th academic 
exercises were ordered to commence the following 

The prescribed instruction for the various classes was 
as follows: 

1st Class 

Rhetoric, alternate days, 3 to 4 p. m. 

Moral Philosophy, alternate days, 3 to 4 p. m. 

Engineering, daily, 9 to 10 a. m. 

Natural Philosophy, daily, 11 to 12 a. m. 

Ordnance and Gunnery, daily, 1 to 2 p. m. 

2d Class 

Mathematics, three sections, 9 a. m. to 12, daily. 
Latin, three sections, 12 to 3 p. m., daily. 
Chemistry, whole class, 3 to 4 p. m., daily. 
Infantry Tactics, daily. 

The Virginia Military Institute 395 

3d Class 

Mathematics, five sections, 9 a. m. to 12, daily. 
Latin, four sections, 12 to 4 p. m., daily. 
French, four sections, 12 to 4 p. m., daily. 

4th Class 

Mathematics, eight sections, 9 a. m. to 12, daily. 
French, eight sections, 12 to 4 p. m., daily. 
Geography, four sections, alternate days, 2 to 4 p. m. 

The military routine was as follows: 

Eeveille, 6 a. m. 

Troop, 7 :30 a. m. 

Breakfast Roll Call, 8:30 a. m. 

Dinner Roll Call, 4 :30 p. m. 

Retreat, sunset. 

Call to Quarters, 9 a. m., and one hour after Retreat. 

Tattoo, 9 p. M. 

Taps, 10 p. M. 

Study hours from Reveille to Troop, from 9. a. m. to 

4 p. M., and from Evening Call to Quarters to Tattoo. 
Church Roll Call, 9:30 a. m. 

There were but two meals served, and full duty was 
prescribed for Saturdays. But four cadets from each 
company were allowed passes each day. The cadet 
limits were fixed as the grounds surrounding the Bar- 
racks and the side walk surrounding the Cemetery, in 
front thereof. 

Upon the resumption of academic work the faculty 
consisted of General Smith, and Colonels Preston, 
Williamson, Gilham, Massie, and Shipp, and Captains 
Semmes, Wise, Robinson, Preston, Hill, and Morrison, 
Officers of the Institute, and Colonel J. D. H. Ross, 
and Lieutenant C. Y. Steptoe, both of whom were 
suffering from wounds. They were attached by order 
of the Secretary of War. 

With a knowledge of the foregoing provisions, one 
could have httle doubt that serious work was con- 
templated by the Superintendent. Verily, was the 28th 
of December, 1864, a day of triumph for him. For 

396 The Military History of 

twenty-two years, he had labored incessantly building 
up Virginia's great School of Arms, only to see war 
threaten, in 1861, to disperse forever his scholars. Again 
in 1862, he had reorganized the institution and built 
it up upon a foundation of incalculable usefulness to 
the South. Amid all the surrounding dangers he had 
held steadfastly to his purpose, and as occasion had re- 
quired, the cadet had cast aside the text-book to sally 
forth to the defense of his lecture halls, each time re- 
turning to pick up the work of education where it had 
been dropped. And, then, pressing on with the avowed 
purpose of destroying the School, the enemy could no 
longer be denied; Virginia's great institution had then 
been desolated by the invader. But only the School in 
its physical form could be prostrated. The spirit which 
had created and maintained it still burned as brightly 
as before, and now, with facilities beyond all expecta- 
tions, a full faculty reassembled, and nearly 300 youths 
from every section of the nation, testifying by their 
presence to the high esteem of the Southern people, 
and the respect with which the Confederate Government 
held this indispensable adjunct of its military establish- 
ment, the West Point of the Confederacy was again to 
open its academic halls. This result, though meeting 
with the wishes of all, was accomplished by the in- 
domitable will of a single individual^ — Francis Henney 

What could be more fitting than that we should here 
let that faithful servant of his country speak as he 
spoke to the assembled ofiicers and cadets, and the many 
distinguished soldiers, officials, and citizens, who gath- 
ered together at the Almshouse, December 28th, 1864, 
to celebrate the resumption of the academic duties of the 

*The following is the introductory lecture read before the Corps of Cadets 
on this memorable occasion by the Superintendent. It was published in 
pamphlet form in 1865 by order of the Board of Visitors, and the only copy 
of that paper ever seen by the writer, or known by him to exist, was presented 
to him in 1913 by Mrs. Crawford, of Williamsburg (n6e Elizabeth lEwell Scott), 
a kinswoman of General Swell, commanding the Department of Richmond 
in December, 1864, to whom in the handwriting of General Smith it was in- 
scribed. It is here inserted in full, not only to preserve the text, but because 
It is one of the most remarkable papers ever written concerning the Institute. 

The Virginia Military Institute 397 

"Many days of memorable interest are traced in un- 
dying characters through the brief annals of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute. 

"That cold and blustering eve, on the 11th of No- 
vember, 1839, when a squad of young Virginians un- 
furled the banner of their State from the Arsenal 
building at Lexington, as the standard of the 'V- M. I. 
Cadet,' will never be forgotten by any who participated 
in that interesting ceremony. 

"The 4th of July, 1842, was the birthday of the First 
Graduating Class, — ^the pioneers in the great work to 
which the institution had been dedicated by its founders. 

"When on the 4th of July, 1850, General Philip St. 
George Cocke, as President of the Board of Visitors, 
laid with impressive ceremonials the corner-stone of 
that magnificent building, erected by the hberafity of 
the State of Virginia, aU felt that that day permanently 
fixed the State policy in support of the Virginia Mili- 
tary Institute. Ten hard probationary years had rolled 
away — ^the test of experiment in its severest ordeal had 
been apphed, — and, with the plaudit 'well done!', the 
Commonwealth of Virginia adopted as her own the 
banthng of 1839. 

"Who can ever forget that turbulent crowd — eager 
for the fray— which sought, imder the plea of a fancied 
insult, to give vent to the revolutionary fires that burned 
within. The State of Virginia had actually seceded, 
but her independence was not publicly known — and that 
Saturday afternoon, in April, 1861, was nigh witnessing 
a sanguinary drama, the prelude to the struggle which 
soon followed.* 

"Ah, what memories cluster around the 15th of May, 
1864 ! The battlefield had been familiar to most of those 
trained in this nursery of patriot soldiers. But that 
day was signalized by the conspicuous gallantry of the 
Corps of Cadets as a battalion — and the dead — and the 
wounded — and the living — bear testimony to the glory 

*Gen. ' Smith here refers to the flag raising in Lexington. See previous 

398 The Militaey Hisioky or' 

which encircles the brow of all who participated in that 
brilliant victory of New Market. 

"Just one month later, and the clouds of heaven I'e- 
flected the conflagration which made the cherished home 
of the cadet a mass of ruins! 

"Memorable days ! all of these ! And now, once more, 
to-day, in this building, appropriated as an asylum for 
the destitute and the homeless, we are to add another 
to the many eventful days in our memorable history. 

"Truly, every cadet is to realize now the character 
and the destiny of the soldier-scholar. He finds him- 
self in a beleaguered city. The roar of the cannon 
awakes him in the morning — and lulls him to sleep at 
night. He has to study with his armor on, and his 
musket by his side, ready for the lecture room or the 
battlefield, as duty may call. Cadets! Soldier- 
scholars ! you are to make this day memorable, as illus- 
trating by your valor on the one hand, and by your 
assiduity on the other, the spirit of the institution which 
aims to train you, amid these surroundings, for the crisis 
of your country's history. 

"It is surely not necessary for me, at this time, to 
refer to the many and serious difficulties which em- 
barrass an institution like this, in its efforts to continue 
its operations under the circumstances which surround 
it. There is scarcely a comfort that may be required for 
you, as a soldier or a scholar, that has not been procured 
and preserved, at great labor and with much un- 
certainty. Even the house which now shelters you was 
the only available one at command, and this has been 
secured, with all its inconveniences and want of adapted- 
ness, under discouragements and serious hindrances. 
There must then have been good and substantial reasons 
with the governing authorities of the institution to order 
its continuance, at such a time and under such circiun- 
stances. It is proper that these reasons should be 
distinctly set before you to-day. 

"And the first and paramount motive was— -a sense 
of the essential importance of this military school to the 
military defense of our suffering and bleeding country. 

The Virginia Military Institute 399 

When the Confederate Army was first organized, on 
the opening of the war, most persons felt the importance 
of military education. The graduates of the U. S. 
Military Academy at West Point, of the Vii'ginia Mili- 
tary Institute, and of the various military schools of 
the South were promptly and eagerly sought for, to 
take commanding positions in this army. 

"Some eight hundred of those who have been 
educated at this institution were placed in com- 
mission — and many of them occupied stations of high 
rank and responsibility. It is estimated that one-tenth 
of the Confederate Army, in 1862, was under the com- 
mand of officers who had been trained in arms here. 
Even the cadets were brought into requisition at once 
as drill-masters, and here, at Camp Lee — in a continued 
and laborious service of nearly three months — drilled 
15,000 (20,000) of the gallant army that achieved the 
First Battle of Manassas. 

"And the country reaped the benefits of this provi- 
dential supply of well-qualified officers. The signal 
success which crowned our arms, especially in Virginia, 
was earned by the valor of our troops, imder the train- 
ing and discipline of such commanders. 

"But other views, in the progress of the war, gained 
ground. It has been thought that the battlefield is the 
place to tutor officers — and that, now that our whole 
country has been made one military camp, the lessons 
which shall qualify the soldier for command, are only 
properly to be acquired there. Legislation has followed 
the popular idea; appointments to command are made 
by popular election; popularity, or supposed fitness, 
secures advancement in many cases, to the rejection of 
the educated miUtary talent of the country. 

"It is not to be denied that military genius is not to 
be tied down to any routine, and that the camp and the 
battlefield are emphatically the positions to test and de- 
velop the military qualities of an officer. Many of our 
most distinguished leaders have received only this 
practical training. But, after making the fullest al- 

400 The Military History of 

lowances for these exceptional cases, and giving the 
fullest credit to the importance of that experience which 
public service alone can give, I am prepared to say 
that our country is now reaping the consequences of 
grave error on this point, and that the disasters which 
have attended our arms have been mainly due to 
the lack of that disciphne and drill which it is the special 
province of military schools to impart. Men may be 
never so brave; they may be led by officers who know 
no fear; but unless they are moved in the order, and 
with the command which educated discipline gives, the 
army suffers under defeat, and hard-earned victories 
are thrown away, and turned into disasters. 

"Need I cite instances to illustrate this truth? From 
Shiloh to the unfortunate disaster at Cedar Creek, the 
whole war presents the painful fact, that where valor 
has achieved the greatest successes, the want of disci- 
pline and drill has entailed upon us many serious re- 

"The Father of his Country, when President of the 
United States, had learned, from his experience in the 
field, the importance of military instruction. In his 
annual message, December 3d, 1793, he suggested the 
inquiry, whether the act of Congress of May 8th, 1793, 
'more effectually to provide for the national defense', 
etc., accomplished the desired objects; and whether a 
material feature in the improvement of the scheme 
'ought not to be, to afford an opportunity for the study 
of those branches of the art, which can scarcely ever 
be attained by practice alone.' And in his message of 
December 7, 1796, he again introduced the subject of 
military instruction, in the foUovnng explicit terms: 

" 'The institution of a military academy is also recom- 
mended by cogent reasons. . . . Whatever argu- 
ment may be drawn from particular examples superfi- 
cially viewed, a thorough examination of the subject 
will evince that the art of war is both comprehensive 
and complicated; that it demands much previous study; 
and that the possession of it in its most improved and 


The Virginia Military Institute 401 

perfect state, is always of great moment to the security 
of the nation.' 

"These views led to the establishment of the Military 
Academy at West Point, and the practical benefits 
which have resulted from that important arm of national 
defense have been so conspicuously seen by the Federal 
Government since this war commenced that, instead of 
suspending its operations, or restricting its sphere of 
usefulness, in consequence of the number of trained 
officers whom practice in the field had brought out, 
increased vigor has been given to its administration, and 
it is reported that the number of cadets has been in- 
creased to double its usual complement. 

"Nor has the U. S. Army failed to reap the ad- 
vantages anticipated by the Father of his Country. 
With a mercenary body of men, animated by no such 
principle as that which fires the breast of every Southern 
patriot, its discipline and drill have preserved it from 
disaster, when defeated, and given it a power that mere 
force of numbers could not impart. 

"Shall we turn to the pages in the history of the 
French Revolution of 1789 for additional illustrations 
confirmatory of the view I am now presenting? Thiers 
thus writes: 

" 'The permanent requisition decreed by the French 
Assembly, in August, 1793, had filled the army with 
soldiers, but officers were wanting. The Committee 
acted in this respect with its accustomed promptitude.' 
'The Revolution,' said Barrere, 'must accelerate all 
things for the supply of its wants. The revolution is to 
the human mind, what the sun of Africa is to vegetation.' 
The school of Mars was reestablished. Yoimg men, 
selected from all the provinces, repaired, on foot, and 
in military order, to Paris. Encamped in tents on the 
plain of Sablons, they repaired thither to acquire rapid 
instruction in all the departments of the art of war, and 
then to be distributed among the armies. 

"So, that instead of relaxing military instruction, 
when a general conscription called every able-bodied 


402 The Mij^itaey History or 

soldier into the field to resist the armies of the allies, such 
necessities made more urgent the reestablishment of a 
school which had been closed amid the disorders incident 
to the opening of the revolution. And France reaped 
the benefits of such a provision. The subaltern officers 
of the army, — those upon whom must depend the disci- 
pline and drill of the companies, that regiments, bri- 
gades and divisions may be moved with celerity, order 
and effect — were supphed from these mihtary schools; 
and the successes of 1794, and the following years, were 
the fruits of the policy so happily enforced. 

"To these illustrations, drawn from history, I will 
only add the testimony of the great and invincible com- 
mander of the Army of Northern Virginia. The re- 
opening of the Virginia Military Institute, 1st January, 
1862, after its temporary suspension in the summer and 
fall of 1861, was urged in emphatic terms by General 
Robert E. Lee, as one of the chief instrxmientahties to 
keep up the supply of well-qualified officers; and on 
the 4th of July, 1864, he thus expresses himself: 

" 'I have grieved over the destruction of the Military 
Institute, but the good it has done to the country can 
not be destroyed, nor can its name or fame perish. It 
will rise stronger than before, and continue to diffuse 
its benefits to a grateful people. Under your wise ad- 
ministration, there will be no suspension of its useful- 
ness. The difficulties by which it is surrounded will 
call forth greater energies from its officers, and in- 
creased diligence from its pupils. Its prosperity I 
consider certain.' 

"We are thus engaged in a great public work which 
looks to the success of our arms, in this life-struggle for 
our independence, when we aim not only to maintain 
life in this Military School of Virginia, but to impart 
to it all the vigor and efficiencj^ which the circumstances 
of the times and of the country may allow, that educated 
officers may be provided for our armies. We know no 
more effectual way of repairing the exhaustions of the 
battlefield. Already, more than one hundred (nearer 

The Virginia Military Institute 403 

two hundred and fifty) of the most gifted Alumni of 
this school have fallen in battle, and some three hun- 
dred more have been wounded or disabled, making 
about one-half of those who had been in commission. 
Every battle swells this number; and, unless the views 
I have been presenting are delusions, it will be im- 
possible to maintain and preserve that discipline and 
drill which I have insisted upon as essential to our suc- 
cess, without the annual additions to the educated mili- 
tary talent of the country, which this and other military 
schools of the South supply. Improper or ill-advised 
legislation may, for a time, keep the educated cadet out 
of the position of greatest usefulness to the country; 
but all here trained, if true to themselves and to the insti- 
tution which nurtures them, will ultimately rise to the 
positions for which they are qualified. 

"To this great and paramount reason for continuing 
the operations of this institution, is added another — the 
felt necessity for some adequate provision for the gen- 
eral education of the youth of our country. 

"Schools of every grade have, to a greater or less 
extent, been suspended by the necessities of the mili- 
tary service. Young men above the age of seventeen 
are brought into the army by the force of the conscrip- 
tion; so that all colleges are, for the most part, sus- 
pended, and find employment only in the disabled 
soldier, or the grammar school. But this institution, 
by virtue of its pecuhar relations to the State, as a part 
of its military organization, and still more, in conse- 
quence of the material advantages resulting to the Con- 
federate Government, by the continued operations of 
so important an establishment, has hitherto been en- 
abled to protect its pupils from conscription; and it is 
believed when the reasons for so doing are fully under- 
stood — and results commensurate with public expecta- 
tion are fully received — their exemption will still 
continue as an essential element in the public defense. 
This circumstance, then, gives an opportunity for a 
vigorous prosecution of the academic studies of the 

404 The Military History of 

institution, and imposes upon the governing authorities 
the weighty responsibihty of giving effect to the urgent 
demands of a high public duty. 

"For these two great purposes then: 

"1. To educate officers for service in our Armies. 

"2. To impart general education to the youth of our 
country we are assembled under the peculiar circum- 
stances which surround us to-day. We have now our 
work distinctly before us. It is a serious work. There 
is no child's play in it. It is a work which will tax 
every energy of your Professors and Officers, and it is 
a work which will demand, on your part, every effort 
that assiduity, self-denial, and resolution can call into 
requisition. I desire every cadet in this institution to 
comprehend and appreciate fully and distinctly the ob- 
jects before him, the objects, I mean, which the letter 
of his appointment, and the order calling him here, con- 
template. Some may have private objects in view. 
Some may consider this a good place to frolic, or to 
spend money, or to have fun. Are there any so craven 
as to come here to keep out of the army? To enter a 
kind of place establishment? The memories of New 
Market and the Wilhamsburg Road forbid this. But, 
whatever be the private motive which draws any cadet 
to this Military School, unless these are subordinated to 
the two great and paramount motives which I have 
specified, he has no business here, and as soon as this 
fact is demonstrated, he will have the opportunity to 
withdraw. That cadet who, having passed the age of 
seventeen, spends his time in idleness, or folly, or 
mischief, is — as was well remarked by one of my as- 
sociates on a former occasion — a skulker from military 
service, and this is no place for him. 

"With such views of our motives, and of what should 
be yours, you will be prepared to know that aU of our 
regulations of study and discipline are made to cor- 
respond with these general ideas. We can not lose 
Saturdays. Time is now too precious for that. One 

The Virginia Military Institute 405 

day saved to study in each week, after so long a suspen- 
sion, will gain a month in a session. No general suspen- 
sion from duties or absences from the institution can 
be allowed. Reasons which respect the morals of the 
young might be given, but the paramount duty of being 
at all times ready, and at our posts, for any call of the 
coimtry, makes it necessary that absences should be 
restricted to a daily detail of a limited number. 

"And, now, in conclusion, if our work be earnest — be- 
cause we live in a time of anxiety and responsibility — 
how important is it, that we keep ourselves always 
ready; not merely as soldiers, but as men, as rational 
and immortal men — men who have to give an account 
of themselves to God; who live, not for time only, but 
for eternity. Let it be the purpose and effort of every 
one connected with this institution, to live as soldiers of 
a Divine Leader, that we may be the better quahfied 
for the duties which claim ovu- service here, and pre- 
pared for the inheritance reserved for those who love 
God and keep His commandments — for this is the whole 
duty of man." 

406 The Military History of 



The Superintendent had warned the cadets that 
little time would be wasted on those who showed no de- 
sire to profit from the opportunities afforded them by 
the reopening of the Institute. He was true to his word, 
and almost daily some of the triflers were "shipped." 

January 19th, the faculty received a valuable acces- 
sion in the person of Lieutenant-Colonel John W. 
Lyell, Class of 1859, detailed by the War Department,' 
while recovering from the loss of an arm in battle. He 
was assigned to the Department of French and Mathe- 

"On the 1st of January the cadets reported promptly 
for duty; and academic duties, so-called, were begun. 
It can be imagined that studies were pursued under 
great difficulties in the Confederate Capital, at a time 
of such stress, confusion and excitement. But we did 
the best we could, and were ready at all times to obey 

"The Almshouse was to many of us a doleful place. 
Shockoe Hill Cemetery was just across the street in 
front of us. The Jewish Cemetery to our left, separated 
from us by an area used for a parade ground, the 
Colored Cemetery to the rear, and in the rear, just 
outside the enclosure, the "Gallows," with many grue- 
some associations. 

"The guard duty here was reduced to a minimum, as 
the building was surrounded by a high wall with locked 

"We had enough to eat, our fare consisting of wheat 
or com bread, corn beef and molasses, served in tin 
plates before we took our seats. Our knives and forks 

The Virginia Military Institute 407 

were primitive, and these we carried with us as we 
marched to and from our meals. 

"Our life was not altogether monotonous. The 
'Second Street Toughs' were constantly gibing the 
cadets whenever they appeared, and so insufferable had 
this become, at one time, that a colhsion between these 
rowdies and the cadets was constantly feared. On one 
occasion, the cadets broke out of Barracks to have it 
out with these offenders ; but our vigilant Commandant 
soon had us securely corralled in our quarters."* 

January 11th, 1865, in tendering the Commandant's 
Report of the field service of the Corps of Cadets, dur- 
ing the New Market and Lynchburg campaigns, the 
Superintendent appended thereto the following re- 
marks : 

"I submit also a list of the casualties among the Pro- 
fessors and Assistant Professors of the Institution 
since April 20, 1861, which presents in a conspicuous 
light the part borne by them in our great struggle." 


1. Lieut.-Gen. T. J. Jackson, Professor of Natural and Ex- 
perimental Philosophy, battle of Chancellorsville. 

2. Maj.-Gen. R. E. Rodes, Professor of Applied Mechanics, 
battle of Winchester. 

3. Capt. W. H. Morgan, Assistant Professor of Languages, 
battle of Cedar Mountain. 

4. Lieut. Llewellyn Crittenden, Assistant Professor of Lan- 
guages, battle of Richmond. 

(Also Private R. A. Crawford, Asisistant Professor, died of 
disease in Army.) 


1. Brig.-Gen. John McCausland, Assistant Professor of 
Mathematics, battle of Monocacy. 

2. Col. Stapleton Crutchfield, Adjunct Professor of Mathe- 
matics, battle of Chancellorsville.** 

3. Lieut. -Col. J. D. H. Ross, Assistant Professor of Mathe- 
matics, battle of Cross Keys. 

•Taken from an article which appea-red In the V. M. I. "Cadet," by Col. 
Francis H. Smith, Jr., Jan. 3, 1914. 

••Later killed at Sailor's Creek, April, 1865. 

408 The Military History of 

4. Lieut. -Col. Scott Shipp, Commandant of Cadets, battle of 
New Market. 

5. Maj. M. B. Hardin, Adjunct Professor of Chemistry, 
battle of Fort Harrison. 

6. Maj. W. E. Cutshaw, Assistant Commandant of Cadets, 
battle of Winchester. 

7. Capt. O. C. Henderson, Assistant Professor of French, 
battle of Cedar Mountain. 

8. Capt. A. G. Hill, Assistant Professor of French, battle of 
New Market. 

9. Lieut. C. Y. Steptoe, Assistant Professor of French, battle 
of Fredericksburg. 

10. Lieut.-Col. J. W. Massie, Adjunct Professor of Mathe- 
matics, permanently disabled by exposure at Fort Donelson. 

11. Capt. Frank Preston, Assistant Professor of Latin, lost an 
arm at the battle of Winchester. 

12. Lieut.-Col. J. W. Lyell, Assistant Professor of Mathe- 
matics, wounded five times in battle and retired from military 
service in consequence of the loss of an arm."* 

From the foregoing statement, it is seen that the 
officers of the Institute did not occupy positions on the 
professorial staff which removed them from the dangers 
of battle. What a noble record is that of the War 

Too much credit can not be accorded these vahant 
men who stood ready, at all times, to join the colors, 
and actually did join the army whenever circumstances 
released them from their more important labors at the 
Institute. Who shall know how much of disappoint- 
ment it cost them to surrender their desires to win 
glory in the field, when ordered back to the Institute, 
from time to time? One only need read, as the author 
has done, the insistent applications of the yotmg Com- 
mandant, Scott Shipp, placed in command of cadets 
some of whom were older than himself, to perceive how 
ardently he longed for opportunities to distinguish him- 
self in the field. Every time, however, he was over- 
borne by the appeals of older men Uke the Adjutant- 
General, who urged upon him, again and again, the 

♦Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. XXXVII, Part 1, pp. 88-89. Col. Lyell 
assigned to duty by S. O. No. 300, A. & I. G. O. Appointed full professor of 
Mathematics in 1872 and served till July, 1889, when lie resigned. 

The Virginia Military Institute 409 

view that he could render the Confederacy no higher 
service than in the office he filled with such peculiar 
ability and distinction. Twice was Scott Shipp elected 
to high ofiice in the line, each time to be persuaded, 
contrary to his own desires, to surrender his commission 
and retm-n to the Institute ; twice again was he tendered 
high ofiice, only to be dissuaded from accepting by the 
appeals of his friends, in the interest of the Institute. 
Once, after the Covington raid, in the face of all op- 
position, he actually tendered his resignation, but, due 
to Generals Smith and Richardson, it was not accepted 
by the Board of Visitors. He could not be spared. 
And so he remained at his post, in a sense, a victim of 
his own efiiciency. 

One thing is certain. The Confederate States of 
America was called upon to make no sacrifice of 
valuable ofiicers to conduct its MiUtary School, for not 
one of them but served on numerous occasions in the 
field, and was at all times rendering peculiarly valuable 
service to the coimtry. Small wonder that the faculty 
of the Institute always possessed the highest respect of 
the cadets; for, unconsciously, from its battle-scarred 
or warworn members, youth, however vaporous, how- 
ever contumacious, drew an inspiration. It is not what 
men teach from books; it is not their pedagogy, or 
mere discourse, however learned it may be; but the 
rectitude of their lives, their genuineness, their beings 
shorn of all sham, in short, their character, that wins 
and retains the admiration and affection of youth. Post- 
graduate degrees and fanciful academic embellishments 
are as worthless in a faculty set over young men, as the 
preacher's creed, when earnestness, knowledge of hu- 
man nature, and character are lacking. The learned 
may be beguiled or misled by such things, but youth, 
never. Faculties can not be bought, for character is 
never foimd on the market. And, so, it is to-day that 
the cadets of long ago remember, not what "Old Spex," 
"Old Tom," "Old Bald," "Old Gill," "Old Jack," or 
"Old Billy" taught them out of text-books in those 

410 The Military History of 

troublous times, but the most trivial incidents in their 
daily relations with those splendid men. 

The Corps of Cadets, hke the faculty, was, at all 
times, prepared to respond to any call that might be 
made upon it. 

January 29th, Colonel Andrew W. Evans, First 
Maryland Cavalry, commanding the 3d Brigade, 
Cavali-y Division, Army of the James, set out from 
Butler's headquarters with 35 officers and 806 men at 
daybreak, and, in a few hours, reached Long Bridge 
on the Chickahominy. Upon receiving intelligence of 
the approach of this raiding colurnn, the Corps of 
Cadets was ordered by General Ewell to be held in 
readiness to take the field. But Evans found the 
stream unfordable; and, after dispatching Major 
Hamilton with a battalion of the First N. Y. Moimted 
Rifles to Bottom's Bridge, the whole command with- 
drew by the Haxall's Landing and Shirley roads. When 
it was discovered late that night that the raiders had 
retired, the following communication was dispatched to 
the Commandant: 

"Hd. Qr. Dept., Richmond, 

"Jan. 31, 1866. 

"Sir — The enemy's raiding party having retired, there is no 
longer occasion to keep the Corps of Cadets in readiness for active 

"The absence of troops from the lines in the immediate vicinity 
of Richmond makes it necessary, in case of a sudden emergency, 
that troops should be moved promptly to the point exposed to 
attack. If you will inform me how long it would take to get the 
cadets under arms, and in readiness to take the field, I could time 
any call so as not to apply until the last emergency, and thus avoid 
useless interruptions. 

"I enclose the telegram just received. I have approved a 
requisition for ammunition, which I recommend should be stored in 
a safe place for future use. 

"Very resp'y, 

"R. S. EWELI., 

"Com'd'g Officer, 

"Corps of Cadets."* 

♦Original in handwriting of General Ewell In General Shipp's possession. 

The Virginia Military Institute 411 

February 27th, Sheridan's command started from 
Winchester, and, marching via Staunton, routed the 
remnant of Early's force at Waynesboro, on March 
2d. From this point, Sheridan proceeded to Charlottes- 
ville; from Charlottesville the command proceeded in 
two columns, Sheridan himself with Custer's division 
turning south toward Lynchburg, while Merritt in com- 
mand of Devin's- division was ordered to Scottsville, on 
the James River, with instructions to march along the 
canal and destroy every lock as far as New Market. 

After destroying the Lynchburg Railroad as far as 
Amherst Courthouse, Sheridan and Custer moved 
across the country and joined Merritt at New Market. 
In the meantime, Merritt had dispatched the First 
Michigan Cavalry, Colonel Maxwell commanding, 
down the Rivanna River to Palmyra, and thence toward 

Learning that Fitz Lee's cavalry and a portion of 
Pickett's division were threatening him from Lynch- 
burg, Sheridan now determined to join Grant before 
Petersburg, and reached Columbia with his whole com- 
mand on the 10th; while General Fitzhugh with his 
brigade moved on ahead, destroying the locks, ware- 
houses, etc., along the canal up to a point eight miles 
east of Goochland Courthouse. Sheridan now de- 
termined to strike the Virginia Central Railroad with 
Custer's division, at Frederick's Hall, and with 
Merritt's at Louisa Courthouse, injuring this road 
(which was still intact from Gordonsville to Richmond) 
as much as possible, while passing northward across the 

Fitzhugb's march on the 11th to Goochland Court- 
house was opposed by about 50 men of the Seventh 
South Carolina Cavalry, which were of course able to 
make no real resistence, although they engaged the 
Federals in a skirmish at the Courthouse. The locks 
between Columbia and Goochland Courthouse were 
partly demolished, 15 canal boats loaded with commis- 
saiy stores destroyed; and the prison at the Courthouse 

412 The Military Histoky of 

burned. Leaving Goochland at 6 p. m., the brigade re- 
turned to Columbia that night; but a strong scouting 
party which proceeded to within 16 miles of Richmond 
had been heralded as the advance of Sheridan's entire 

The authorities in Richmond, who had not forgotten 
how nearly Dahlgren's raiders had succeeded in reach- 
ing the city in February, 1864, at once ordered out the 
Reserves and the Corps of Cadets. These troops were 
marched rapidly out the Westham Road, on the 
morning of the 11th, and deployed in a hne reaching 
from the locks on the canal near the old Westham 
Arsenal across the hills on the north bank of the river, 
as far as the Westham Road. The cadets occupied the 
extreme left on the canal, the post of greatest danger, 
as the enemy was reported moving down the towpath. 
Their position was oddly enough on the farm of the 
Adjutant- General (William H. Richardson), next to 
the present property of Mr. Cole Scott, of Richmond. 
General Richardson no doubt had something to do with 
having them stationed there, as he knew the Corps of 
Cadets was far more hkely to repel the raiders than the 
lame and halt departmental clerks, and the others com- 
prising the Reserves. 

Upon arriving in position, the cadets threw up hasty 
intrenchments of logs and fence rails, and anxiously 
awaited the enemy; but, upon learning that troops were 
in position guarding the approaches, the scouting party 
turned back and rejoined Fitzhugh's brigade. 

The next day the Corps of Cadets returned to the 
Almshouse, without having fired a shot. Thus ended 
their eleventh appearance in the field. 

The Confederacy was now in a desperate pMght. We 
can not here undertake to discuss the condition of Lee's 
Army, or the misfortimes which had befallen the Con- 
federate forces in other quarters. But as Lee's need of 
men — not officers but privates — grew greater and 
greater, the more difficult it became to secure them. 

•See Sheridan's and Fitzhugh's Reports, Eebellion Records, Series I, Vol. 
XLVI, Part 1, pp. 474-499. 

The Virginia Military Institute 413 

As Sherman cut the far South in twain, and penetrated 
to the very vitals of the nation, "a subtle enemy, till 
then well-nigh imknown, assailed the Army of Northern 
Virginia, which still haughtily held its front ; and men, 
with bated breath and cheeks flushing through their 
bronze, whispered the dread word, 'Desertion.' 

"The historian, far removed from the passions of the 
time, may coldly measure out his censure; but we, 
bound to these men by countless proud traditions, can 
only cry with the old Hebrew prophet, 'Alas, my 
brother!' and remember that these were valiant souls, 
too sorely tried. 

"From the cotton lands of Georgia and the rice fields 
of Carolina, came, borne on every blast, the despair- 
ing cry which wives and little ones raised to wintry 
skies ht by the baleful glare of burning homes ; and the 
men of the South bethought them of the homesteads 
which lay straight in the path of the ruthless 

In the winter of 1864-65, there was powder in plenty 
and the army was better armed than ever before. In 
fact, there was a surplus of muskets, for men were lack- 
ing to bear those on hand. 

It was at this juncture that Colonel John Thomas 
Lewis Preston, while acting Superintendent of the 
Virginia Mihtary Institute, in the temporary absence 
of General Smith, offered a suggestion to the Govern- 
ment, which, had it been made and acted upon before, 
might have saved the Confederacy. 

Let us read this letter: 

"Headquarters, Virginia Military Institute, 

"February 17, 1865. 
"Hon. J. C. Breckinridge, 
"Secretary of War. 

"Dear Sir — The present state of the country justifies any one 
in presenting for consideration of the Government well-meant 
suggestions, even if they should appear crude to those who are 
better informed. 

•Address of Captain W. Gordon McCabe, Sixth Annual Eeunion, A. N. V., 
Nov. 2, 1876. 

414 The Military History of 

"The tone of public sentiment, and the tenor of present legis- 
lation, indicate that the call of General Lee for negro troops will 
be responded to. 

"I suggest that the maximum number allowed to be raised should 
be half a million. 

"I do not suppose that so many are required, or could be ob- 
tained. But to place the maximum at this figure would, I believe, 
inspire dread in the minds of our enemy, who exaggerates, through 
ignorance, our power in this particular; and further, to call for 
half a million would, by the effect upon the minds of owners and 
slaves, facilitate and insure the raising of 200,000. 

"The second suggestion I would make is, that in the event of 
the troops being raised, you might command the services of the 
Corps of Cadets with their officers to perform the work of organi- 
zation and drilling in the shortest time, and with the greatest 

"In 1861, between the 20th of April and 20th of June, the 
cadets drilled 15,000* men of the Army of Northern Virginia, and 
if a large camp of instruction were established at Camp Lee, the 
same work could be done for all negro troops that would be sent 

"Allow me to say that these suggestions are the result of con- 
versation among some of the officers of our School, and the last 
one is contained in a letter to me from General Smith, our Super- 
intendent who is now absent at Lexington. 

"Very respectfully. General, your obedient servant, 

"J. T. L. Preston, 
"Acting Superintendent, Virginia Military Institute."** 

Had the war continued for any length of time, there 
is no doubt that this plan would have been adopted, but 
when presented, neither the officers of the Institute 
from whom the suggestion emanated, nor any one else, 
except those in charge of the government, and General 
Lee, perceived how near at hand was the end. 

On the 29th, Longstreet telegraphed Lee: 

"The usual force is in our front, so far as we can 
learn. Our scouts are in from enemy's line this morn- 
ing, and report affairs as usual. If Field's division is 
taken away from this side, all of the Locals must be 
put in his place, as will be the cadets. When you call 

*20,000 — See Rebellion Records. 

* 'Rebellion Records, Series IV, Vol. Ill, p. 1093. There were approximately 
200,000 negro troops in the Federal Army. 

The Virginia Military Institute 415 

for him, please call at the same time upon the Secretaxy 
of War for the Locals, the Governor for the cadets and 
General Ewell for his forces. Shall the other of Gen- 
eral Pickett's brigades move at once?"* 

On the 1st of April, Longstreet wrote Ewell: 

"General Lee thinks the Twenty-fourth Corps is on 
the other side operating against our right, and of course 
wants some of the force that is on this side with him. 
If it is true that the Twenty-Fourth Corps has gone to 
the south-side. Field's division should go there also, but 
our lines here should be partially occupied at least. Can 
you, by turning out your Battalion of Cadets, muster 
1,500 men and occupy our huts and lines on the Charles 
City Road, for a week or ten days?"** 

Later, the same day, he directed Ewell to turn out 
all the forces at his command, and march them down 
the Charles City Road to relieve Field's division in the 
outer line of works, directing him to send an officer 
ahead to acquaint himself with the picket line which 
was to be held by Field's pickets, until they were 

At this time, Ewell had in Richmond but three bat- 
talions of convalescents, in addition to the Corps of 
Cadets; but these, with Kershaw's division, would be 
the only troops remaining to man Longstreet's works 
and confront Butler's Army, after the proposed re- 
moval of Field's division. The order for the cadets 
to march to Longstreet's rifle-pits, along the outer hne, 
was accordingly given by the Secretary of War. 

"On the night of April 1st, 1865, it was apparent to 
us that something out of the ordinary was to take place. 
Rockets and other signals were seen, and a general air 
of excitement seemed to prevail. At Taps many of us 
kept our clothes on, and watched from the windows, ex- 
pecting orders of some sort calling out the Corps. We 
did not have to wait long, for in a short time a horse- 

*Eebellion Records, Series I, Part III, p. 1363. 

**Ibia., p. 1376. 

tibid. ; also see Bwell's Report, p. 1293. 

416 The Military Histoky of 

man rode rapidly to the front of Barracks, and on being 
challenged by the sentinel, asked for the Superin- 
tendent ; and soon we learned, from the sounding of the 
long roll, that the expected order had been received. 
We were quickly in ranks, and permission was given to 
those under age to fall out, if they desired to do so. It 
need hardly be said, none availed themselves of this 

"We were marched through the streets of Richmond 
— not knowing our destination — through Rocketts, a 
suburb of the city, destined, as we afterwards learned, 
for Longstreet's rifle-pits. We met a portion of Long- 
street's Corps on ovu* march that night."* 

Just after sunrise, the two brigades which Field had 
left on picket were relieved by Lieutenant-Colonel 
Scott Shipp who had been placed by Ewell in command 
of this section of the outer line.** 

"The cadets were placed in the rifle pits early Sun- 
day morning, April 2d. We were separated from the 
enemy by a heavy body of pines. Our pickets, and those 
of the enemy, were in speaking distance."! 

During the day, the cadets remained in the rifle-pits, 
expecting to be attacked at any moment, and "when the 
tremendous cheering of the enemy was heard, from time 
to time, we thought our time had come. If there was 
anything more imcomfortable than this waiting, we did 
not care to experience it." 

At 3:20 p. M., Ewell received a dispatch from Gen- 
eral Lee stating that it would be necessary for him to 
abandon the lines at Petersburg, that night, and asking 
if he could withdraw from Richmond. Later, he re- 
ceived specific orders to evacuate the city.| 

Late in the afternoon, Ewell sent out a squadron of 
dismounted cavalry to reheve the Corps of Cadets which 
was at once marched under orders to Richmond. From 

♦Account of Col. Francis H. Smith, Jr., V. M. I. "Cadet", Jan. 3, 1914. 

•*See Bwell's Report. 

tCol. Smith. 

tRebellion Records, Ibid., p. 1380. 


The Virginia Military Institute 417 

daybreak until about 4 p. m.^ the cadets were the only 
troops on their portion of the line, between the enemy 
and the Confederate Capital. 

The Secretary of War, who had ordered it to be re- 
lieved upon learning of Lee's plans, now directed that 
the Corps of Cadets furnish a strong guard at the rail- 
road depot for the stores and material being hastily 
loaded for transportation to Lynchburg.* 

"We made a rapid march, and, foot-sore, and hip- 
sore from our heavy cartridge belts, some of us longed 
to get up behind Colonel Shipp, as he rode along at our 
head, mounted on his noble stallion, Robin. 

"On arriving at Richmond, the fathers of some of the 
Richmond cadets met us at Rocketts; and, then, we 
learned for the first time the cause of the cheering, dur- 
ing the morning in the enemy's lines — Richmond was 
being evacuated! We were then marched to General 
Ewell's headquarters for orders, and thence to the Alms- 
house, where we were disbanded and directed to es- 
cape the best way we could, as in a body we could not 
reach any organized Confederate field force."** 

Numbers of the cadets, however, in groups under 
various officers of the Institute, proceeded to the canal 
where such Institute property as it was desired to save 
was loaded on freight boats, along with the baggage of 
the cadets. One of these boats which, for lack of an 
adequate number of barges, had been over-burdened, 
sank in the canal. But there was no time to waste, and 
little of the property could be salvaged. 

Some of the cadets left Richmond by these boats, or 
marched in groups westward along the tow-path of the 
canal, dispersing as they progressed to their own home, 
or the homes of friends, in the James River country; 
while many of them continued on their sorrowful way 
to join Lee's, or Johnston's, Army. 

♦BebelUon Kecords, Ibid., p. 1380. 
**CoI. Smith. 


418 The Military History of 

Thus, at Richmond, Sunday evening, April 2, 1865, 
the Corps of Cadets terminated its service in the Army 
of the Confederate States of America, having begun 
it there, April 22, 1861, four years before, almost to the 
very day. One might say that the Yotmg Guard of 
Virginia did not abandon the Capital until the over- 
powering enemy seized it; for, at daAvn, April 3d, 
Weitzel's troops entered Richmond. Among the cadets 
the cry vp^as Sauve qui pent! But the West Point of 
the Confederacy was still alive, though its embattled 
walls had fallen, and their tenants had been dispersed; 
for, struggling onward, clinging to the last hope of the 
nation, and burning with a resolve to perish, if need 
be, with honor for their country, were the cadets of 
former days, leading their weary men to Appomattox 
and Goldsboro. And in the rear of that army which 
had shrunken to 8,000 souls, the fame of which is im- 
perishable and vmequalled, rode one sent forth from 
Virginia's School of Arms, upon whom was hung the 
only hope of Lee himself, as he led the wreck of his 
once proud army into the Valley of the Shadow of 

Great, indeed, had the service of Virginia's military 
school been, in the struggle of the Southern people 
for constitutional hberty. But, when her sons sur- 
rendered their swords, they had only paid their tribute 
to Mars. It was in the dark days succeeding that sacri- 
ficial offering that their work was seen at its best; for 
these were citizens, as well as soldiers, and, by the 
traditions of their military prowess, were only bound 
the closer in the subsequent struggles of peace. Then, 
was the full significance of the motto of the Virginia 
Military Institute perceived — in pace decus, in hello 
praesidium; for, out of the ashes of the empire her 
sons sought with their swords and blood to found, 
sprang an exhalted resolve to win even nobler victories 
than had crowned their arms in war. 

The Virginia Military Institute 419 

In closing this imperfect narrative of their military 
achievements may the author make bold to inscribe to 
their memories these lines: 

Yon mountain chains may sink to plains, 

All human monuments may fail; 
The memory of their deeds shall live — 

Fame's rubric is the deathless tale ! 
Age after age may come and go. 

Or rule the world an unborn foe, 
But still upon the altered shore. 

Of sea-cliffs crumbled into sand. 
Some unknown race in pride shall trace 

The story of that youthful band. 
Reck not of time. No lapse shall see 
A day — not e'en eternity — 
When men in passing shall not pause 
For inspiration from their cause. 




A. Roster of the Cadet Battalion, May 11, 1864 425 

B. The V. M. I. Confederate Martyr-Roll 432 

C. Assistant Professors and Tactical Staff, 1842-1863 462 

D. Hearing Before the Committee on Claims U. S. 

Senate, Sixty-Third Congress, Second Session, On 
S. 544 — A Bill for the Relief of the Virginia 
Military Institute of Lexington, Va 464 

E. Confederate Officers from the Virginia Military 

Institute 485 

F. V. M. I. Alumni in Foreign Armies — Before 1861 . . . 487 

G. V. M. I. Alumni in Foreign Armies — After 1865 492 

H. Graduates and Eleves in the Union Army During 

the War 496 

I. The Institute's Contribution to the Mexican War, 513 

J. V. M. I. Alumni in the Regular Army and Navy Be- 
fore 1861 550 

K. Note on V. M. I. Claim for Loss of Property Suf- 
fered During the War between the States. . . . 562 



Field and Staff 

Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, Commanding. 
*Colonel R. L. Madison, Surgeon. 

Captain George Ross, Assistant Surgeon. 
*Captain J. C. Whitwell, Commissary and Quartermaster. 
*Cadet First Lieutenant Cary Weston, Adjutant. 
*Cadet Second Lieutenant J. W. Wyatt, Quartermaster. 


Cadet Sergeant J. E. Woodbridge, Sergeant-Ma j or. 
*Cadet Sergeant O. P. Evans, Color-Bearer. 
Cadet Sergeant G. A. Davenport, Quartermaster Sergeant. 


*J. H. Crocken, Fife. 
*Richard Staples, Kettle Drum. 
*Jacob Marks, Bass Drum. 


Henry A. Wise, Senior Tactical Officer and Captain Commanding. 

C. H. Minge, Cadet Captain. 
*W. C. Hardy, Cadet First Lieutenant. 
*W. A. Morson, Cadet Second Lieutenant. 

E. M. Ross, Cadet First Sergeant. 
*W. B. Shaw, Cadet Second Sergeant. 
*W. T. Duncan, Cadet Third Sergeant. 
*J. T. Douglas, Cadet Fourth Sergeant. 

Hunter Wood, Cadet Fifth Sergeant. 
*Lawrence Royster, Cadet First Corporal. 
*G. K. Macon, Cadet Second Corporal. 
*R. L. Brockenbrough, Cadet Third Corporal. 
*S. F. Atwill, Cadet Fourth Corporal. 



The Military History of 


*Adams, R. A. 
*Allen, Donald 

Andersorij C. J. 
*Ashley, C. G. 

Bagnall, J. S. 
*Binford, R. J. 

Bowen, H. C. 
*Buster, W. D. 
*Butler, W. H. 
*Carmichael, John 
*Cocke, P. St. G. 
*Corling, C. T. 

Cousins, R. H. 
*Davis, J. A. 
*Garrett, H. W. 
*Goodykoontz, A. E. 

Harrison, C. H. 
*Hayes, W. C. 

Hiden, P. B. 

Hill, J. M. 

Howard, J. C. 

Hubard, W. J. 

James, F. W. 
*Larrick, J. S. 
*Lewis, W. L. 
*McVeigh, Newton 

*Mallory, E. S. 
*Mead, H. J. 

Mohler, D. G. 

Morgan, P. H. 
*Page, F. W. 
*Payne, A. S. 
*Pendleton, R. A. 

Raum, G. E. 
*Seaborn, G. A. 
*Skaggs, S. B. 
*Smith, E. H. 

Smith, Jr., F. L. 

Spiller, George 

SpiUer, W. H. 
*Temple, P. C. 

Thomson, A. P. 
*Watson, W- P. 
*White, T. W. 

White, W. H. 

Wimbish, L. W. 
*Wingfield, S. G. 
*Wood, H. T. 
*Wood, P. S. 

Wood, W. M. 
*Woodruff, Z. T. 
*Yarbrough, W. T. 


*Frank Preston, Tactical Officer and Captain Commanding. 
*Carlton Shafer, Cadet Captain. 

G. W. Gretter, Cadet First Lieutenant. 
*Levi Welch, Cadet Second Lieutenant. 
*A. Pizzini, Jr., Cadet First Sergeant. 

H. W. Garrow, Cadet Third** Sergeant. 
*W. M. Patton, Cadet Fourth Sergeant. 

T. G. Hayes, Cadet First Corporal. 
*J. B. Jarratt, Cadet Second Corporal. 
*Patrick Henry, Cadet Third Corporal. 

B. W. Barton, Cadet Fourth Corporal. 


•♦The 2d Sergeant of this Company was O. P. Evans, who was the Color- 
Bearer at New Market in place of Color-Sergeant W. B. Shaw, absent on 
Surgeon's certificate. 

The Virginia Military Institute 



*Bayard, N. J. 

Bennett, W. G. 
*Bowen, W. B. 
*Bransford, J. F. 

Cabell, R. G. 

Carmichael, W. S. 
♦Christian, E. D. 

Clarkson, J. H. 
*Coeke, J. L. 
*Cocke, W. R. C. 

Crank, J. T. 
*Ciillen, Simon 
*Darden, J. D. 
*Dillard, J. L. 

Faulkner, C. J. 

Garrett, V. F. 
*Gibson, F. G. 
*Grasty, W. C. 

Hankins, M. O. 
*Happer, R. W. B. 
*Harris, W. O. 
*Hartsfield, A. C. 

Hawks, A. W. 
*Haynes, L. C. 
♦Hundley, C. B. 

Hupp, R. C. 
♦Jefferson, T. G. 

Johnson, Porter 
♦Jones, T. W. 
♦Kemp, Wyndham 

Lee, G. T. 
♦Leftwich, A. H. 

♦Lewis, N. C. 

McCorkle, J. W. 
♦McDowell, W. H. 

Mason, S. B. 
♦Patton, J. R. 
♦Penn, J. G. 
♦Perry, W. E. S. 
♦Phillips, S. T. 

Powell, J. J. A. 

Preston, J. B. 

Preston, T. W. 

Redwood, W. F. 
♦Richeson, J. D. 
♦Roane, John 
♦Stacker, Clay 
♦Stanard, J. B. 

Tabb, John 
♦Tackett, J. F. 

Tardy, A. H. 

Taylor, J. E. 

Tunstall, R. B. 
♦Turner, E. L. 

Veitch, Wilberforce 
♦Walker, C. P. 

Washington, Lloyd 

Wesson, C. M. 

Wharton, J. E. 
♦White, J. S. 

Whitehead, H. C. 
♦Wilson, R. G. 
♦Woodlief, P. W. 


A. Govan Hill, Tactical Officer and Captain Commanding. 
♦S. S. Shriver, Cadet Captain. 

T. D. Davis, Cadet First Lieutenant. 
♦A. Boggess, Cadet Second Lieutenant. 
♦J. A. Stuart, Cadet First Sergeant. 
♦L. C. Wise, Cadet Second Sergeant. 
♦A. F. Redd, Cadet Third Sergeant. 

W. B. Martin, Cadet Fourth Sergeant. 
♦H. H. Dinwiddle, Cadet First Corporal. 
*J. E. Wood, Cadet Second Corporal. 

J. G. James, Cadet Third Corporal. 
♦R. Ridley, Cadet Fourth Corporal. 



The Military History of 


Adams, S. B. 
*Blankman, J. S. 
*Blundon, R. M. 

Booth, S. W. 

BufSngton, E. S. 
♦Chalmers, W. M. 
♦Crawford, W. B. 
*Crichton, J. A. 

Davis, A. J. 
*Pavis, L. S. 
*Duim, J. R. 
*Early, J. C. 

Ezekiel, M. J. 

Fry, H. W. 
*FTilton, C. M. 

Goode, H. L. 
♦Goodwin, J. H. 

Harrison, W. L. 

Jones, W. S. 
♦Lamb, W. K. 
♦Langhorne, M. D. 
♦Lee, R. F. 

McGavock, J. W. 

Martin, T. S. 

Maury, Reuben 
♦Merritt, J. L. 

Minor, J. H. 
♦Mitchell, S. T. 

Morson, A. A. 

Morson, J. B. 

♦Noland, N. B. 

Overton, A. W. 
♦Page, P. N. 
♦Pendleton, W. W. 

Price, F. B. 

Randolph, C. C. 
♦Read, C. H. 
♦Ricketts, L. C. 

Roller, P. W. 

Rose, G. M. 
♦Rutherford, T. M. 
♦Shields, J. H. 

Shriver, T. H. 
♦Slaughter, W. L. 

Smith, C. H. 

Smith, W. T. 

Tate, C. B. 

Taylor, B. D. 
♦Taylor, Carrington 
♦Taylor, W. C. 
♦Thompson, K. 
♦Tomes, F. J. 
♦Toms, A. C. 
♦Turner, C. W. 

Upshur, J. N. 
♦Walker, C. D. 

Waller, R. E. 

Walton, N. T. 
♦Wheelwright, J. C. 
♦Wilson, D. C. B. 
(Afterwards D. C. Barroud) 


♦Thomas B. Robinson, Tactical Officer and Captain Commanding. 

B. A. Colonna, Cadet Captain. 

♦J. F. Hanna, Cadet First Lieutenant. 

F. W. Claybrook, Cadet Second Lieutenant. 
♦W. H. Cabell, Cadet First Sergeant. 
♦William Nelson, Cadet Second Sergeant. 
♦J. R. Echols, Cadet Third Sergeant. 

C. M. Etheredge, Cadet Fourth Sergeant. 
O. A. Glazebrook, Cadet First Corporal. 

♦Alfred Marshall, Cadet Second Corporal. 
♦John S. Wise, Cadet Third Corporal. 
♦J. R. Triplett, Cadet Fourth Corporal. 


The Virginia Militaey Institute 



*Akers, R. C. 

Alexander, W. K. 

Arbuekle, A. A. 
*Barney, W. H. 

Baylor, J. B. 
*Beattie, W. F. 
*Berkeley, Edmund 
*Brown, J. A. 
*Clark, G. B. 
*Clendmen, T. R. 

Cocke, Preston 

Coleman, J. J. 
*Corbin, J. P. 
*Crensliaw, S. D. 
*Crews, B. S. 
♦Crockett, C. G. 
♦Crockett, H. S. 

Dickinson, J. I. 
*Dillard, WiUiam 

Eubank, W. M. 
*Garnett, G. T. 

Gray, J. B. 
*Hamlin, E. L. 
*Hannah, J. S. 

Harvie, J. B. 

Harvie, J. S. 

Horsley, John 
*Imboden, J. P. 
*Jolinson, F. S. 
*Jones, H. J. 

♦Kennedy, W. H. 
*King, D. P. 

Kirk, W. M. 
*Knight, E. C. 

Lee, F. T. 

Letcher, S. H. 
*Locke, R. N. 
*Lowry, T. S. 

Lumsden, W. J. 

McClung, T. W. 
*Marks, C. H. 
♦Marshall, Martin 
♦Moorman, E. S. 

Nalle, G. B. W. 

Phelps, T. K. 
♦Peirce, D. S. 
♦Radford, W. N. 
♦Reid, J. J. 
♦Reveley, G. F. 

Sowers, J. F. 
♦Stuart, Jr., A. H. H. 
♦Tunstall, J. L. 

Tutwiler, E. M. 

Venable, W. L. 
♦Ward, G. W. 

Webb, J. S. 
♦Wellford, C. E. 
♦White, R. J. 

Witt, J. E. 

Wood, M. B. 



Cadet W. H. Cabell, Va., 2d Class, 1st Sergeant, D Company. 
Cadet C. G. Crockett, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet H. J. Jones, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet W. H. McDowell, N. C, 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet J. B. Stanard, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 


Cadet S. F. AtwiU, Va., 3d Class, Corporal, A Company. 
Cadet T. G. Jefferson, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 


430 The Military History of 

Cadet L. C. Haynes, Va.^ 4th Class, Private, B Company.* 
Cadet J. C. Wheelwright, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 


Lieutenant-Colonel Scott Shipp, Commanding Battalion of Cadets. 
Captain A. G. Hill, Tactical Officer, Commanding C Company. 
Cadet S. S. Shriver, Va., 1st Class, Cadet Captain, C Company. 
Cadet Andrew Pizzini, Jr., Va., 2d Class, 1st Sergeant, B Company. 
Cadet J. A. Stuart, Va., 2d Class, 1st Sergeant, C Company. 
Cadet L. C. Wise, Va., 2d Class, Sergeant, C Company. 
Cadet H. W. Garrow, Ala., 2d Class, Sergeant, B Company. 
Cadet G. K. Macon, Va., 3d Class, Corporal, A Company. 
Cadet J. E. Triplett, Va., 3d Class, Corporal, D Company. 
Cadet J. S. Wise, Va., 3d Class, Corporal, D Company. 
Cadet Edmund Berkley, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet J. F. Bransford, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet W. D. Buster, Va., 3d Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet E. D. Christian, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet Preston Cocke, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet C. T. Corling, Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet J. D. Darden, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet J. I. Dickinson, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet William Dillard, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet G. T. Garnett, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet F. G. Gibson, W. Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet J. H. Goodwin, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet W. O. Harris, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet C. H. Harrison, Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet A. C. Hartsfield, N. C, 3d Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet J. C. Howard, Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet J. P. Imboden, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet Porter Johnson, W. Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet W. S. Jones, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet Martin Marshall, Miss., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet H. J. Mead, Va., 3d Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet J. L. Merritt, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet E. S. Moorman, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet E. A. Pendleton, Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet S. T. Phillips, Va., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet D. S. Peirce, Va., 3d Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet C. C. Eandolph, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet C. H. Eead, Jr., Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet C. H. Smith, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet E. H. Smith, Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet F. L. Smith, Jr., Va., 4th Class, Private, A Company. 

•Died of wounds one month after the battle. 

The Virginia Militaby Institute 431 

Cadet George Spiller, Va., 3d Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet J. N. Upshur, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet C. D. Walker, Va., 4th Class, Private, C Company. 
Cadet W. P. Watson, N. C, 4th Class, Private, A Company. 
Cadet T. W. White, Va., 4th Class, Private, D Company. 
Cadet H. C. Whitehead, Va., 3d Class, Private, B Company. 
Cadet P. W. Woodlief, Jr., La., 4th Class, Private, B Company. 


Killed 5 

Mortally wounded 4 

Wounded 48* 


Estimated strength of Battalion at New Market — 279 

Loss in battle 57 

Percentage of loss 20 P. 

*Some of these were crippled for life, notably Martin Marshall, T. W. White, 
F. G. Gibson, C. C. Randolph, and C. D. Walker. 

432 The Military Histoey of 



In 1875j the Rev. Charles D. Walker of blessed memory, "First 
Honor" graduate of the Class of 1869, published his "Memorial — 
Virginia Military Institute." It is a monument to his zeal and 
devotion, and has been most valuable; but, unfortunately, it is 
neither complete nor accurate. 

When this work was begun, Mr. Walker was an assistant pro- 
fessor at the Institute, and it was finished while he was prosecuting 
his theological studies; and during those four years he was never 
able to give his entire time to the work, having other important 
duties to claim his paramount attention. 

It is not surprising, therefore, that the work fails to include all 
the Alumni of the Institute who gave their lives for Southern In- 
dependence, nor that it contains many errors. It is cause for re- 
joicing, however, that we have at last a roster of our Sainted Con- 
federate Dead that is as perfect as human means can make it. 

In the preparation of the personal histories of all the Sons of the 
Institute from its foimding to the present time, our OflScial Histori- 
ographer has given his undivided time to the important work, and he 
has thus been enabled to perfect our Necrology during the great 
Confederate War. 

Walker's "Memorial" contains sketches of 164 persons supposed 
to have been killed, or to have died of disease, in the military service 
of the Southern Confederacy, who were Alumni of the Virginia 
Military Institute. From this number must be deducted one who 
was not a cadet, and two who did not die during the War, or from 
the effects of the War. The number is thus reduced to 161. Eighty- 
eight more Alumni have been discovered who were killed, or who 
died from the effects of the military service, and are to be added to 
this number, making the total mortality resulting from the War, 
Two Hundred and Forty-Nine ! 

There are only seventy matriculates from 1839 to 1865 whose 
war record is still unknown ; and when these records are all in hand, 
it may be that this number will be slightly increased. But, as it is, 
we have a Martyr-Roll of Two Hundred and Forty-Nine (249), and 
it is given here. 

Joseph R. Anderson, 
Lieutenant-Colonel V. M. I., 

Official Historiographer. 

The Virginia Military Institute 433 

Virginia Military Institute Alumni Killed, or Died in 
Service, Confederate States of America 

Abell, William McLeod, from Charlottesville, Va. Courier, Co. I, 
6th Va. Cavalry. Died September 26, 1864, of wound received 
the day before. 

Adie, Lewis Benjamin, from Leesburg, Va. Private, Mosby's 
Battalion. Killed about middle August, 1864, near Berryville, 

Alexander, Thomas, from Northumberland County, Va. 1st 
Lieutenant, Co. C, 40th Va. Infantry. Killed August 18, 1864, 
at Petersburg, while leading his company. 

Allen, James Walkinshaw, from Bedford County, Va. Colonel, 
2d Va. Infantry. Killed at Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862. 

Allen, Robert Clotworthy (brother of the above), from Salem, 
Va. Colonel, 28th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 
3, 1863. 

(A third brother, Donald Allen, was a gallant member of the New 
Market Battalion.) 

Anthony, Robert Irvine, from Alleghany County, Va. Ord. 
Sergeant, Carpenter's Battery. Died of wound received at 
Winchester, four days afterwards, September 13, 1864. 

Armistead, John Sinclair, from Elizabeth City County, Va. 
Lieutenant, C. S. Engineers. Died in service, April 3, 1862. 

Ashby, James Lewis, from Warren County, Va. Private, Co. D, 6th 
Va. Cavalry. Killed June 11, 1864, at Trevilians, Va. 

Ashby, John William (brother of the above), from Warren 
County, Va. Private, Co. I, 12th Va. Cavalry. Killed two 
hours before the Surrender at Appomattox. 

Ashby, Richard (younger brother of General Turner Ashby), from 
Fauquier County, Va. Captain, Co. A, 7th Va. Cavalry. 
KUled July 3, 1861, near Romney, W. Va. 

Atwill, Samuel Francis, from Westmoreland County, Va. Cor- 
poral, Co. A, Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 15, 

Banks, Thomas William, from Gloucester County, Va. Private, 
Co. A, 35th Va. Infantry. Died in prison, about June 20, 
1866, of brain fever, due to grief over the downfall of the 

Barton, Charles Marshall (one of five brothers in the C. S. A., 
three of whom were cadets), from Winchester, Va. 1st Lieu- 
tenant, Cutshaw's Battery. Killed May 26, 1862, at Win- 

Beasley, Peter "R", from Huntsville, Ala. 1st Lieutenant, 36th 
Alabama Infantry. Mortally wounded and died July 12, 1864, 
near Marietta, Ga. 

434 The Military History of 

Benbury, Richard B , from Gatesville, N. C. Private^ 

N. C. Regiment. Died of disease contracted in the military 
service, September — , 1863. 

Bethea, Theodore, from Montgomery, Ala. Lieutenant, Co. E, 
commanding Lockhart's Battalion, Alabama Volunteers. Killed 
July 18, 1864, in fight with raiding force, on Montgomery & 
West Point R. R. (His father's four sons were gallant 
soldiers, and his two daughters "knitted socks.") 

Bibb, Frank Strother, from Charlottesville, Va. 1st Lieutenant, 
Carrington's Battery. Died May 28, 1863, from wound re- 
ceived at Chancellorsville. 

Bishop, Benj. Franklin, from Surry County, Va. Captain on 
Staff of General Wright. Died January 5, 1878, from the 
effects of military service. 

Blakey, John W., from Greene County, Va. Private, Captain 
Bass's Company, from Richmond. Died in hospital at Peters- 
burg, March 17, 1864, from disease contracted in the military 

BoTTS, Lawson, from Charles Town, W. Va. Colonel, 2d Va. In- 
fantry. Died of wounds received at Second Manassas, on 
September 16, 1862. (Appointed by the Court to defend John 
Brown, at Harper's Ferry.) 

Bowe, Nathaniel Crenshaw, from Richmond, Va. Private, 
V. M. I. Corps Cadets. Died August, 1865, from disease con- 
tracted in the military service. 

Bradley, Randolph, from Missouri. (Formerly from Page County, 
Va.) Captain, 14th La. Infantry. Died June 28, 1862, from 
wound received the day before in battles around Richmond. 
(Promoted captain on the field, at Seven Pines.) 

Bray, William Harvie, from Essex County, Va. 1st Lieutenant, 
53d Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

Breckinridge, James, from Botetourt County, Va. Captain, Co. C, 
2d Va. Cavalry. Killed at Five Forks, April 1, 1865. 

Breckinridge, Peachy Gilmer (these were two of five brothers in 
the C. S. A., four of whom were cadets), from Botetourt 
County, Va. Captain, Co. B, 2d Va. Cavalry. Killed May 24, 
1864, at Kennon's Landing, Va. 

Brent, Virginius King, from Fauquier County, Va. Private, "Old 
Dominion Rifles," Co. D, from Alexandria, Va. Wounded at 
Frazier's Farm, and died from effects in 1868. 

Burgess, Alex. Armistead, from Rappahannock County, Va. Pri- 
vate, 1st Va. Infantry. Killed May 31, 1862, at Seven Pines. 

*BuRGWYN, Henry King, Jr., from Northampton County, N. C. 
Colonel, 26th N. C. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg^ July 1, 

•Colonel Fox, the compiler of casualty statistics (on both sides) of the 
battle of Gettysburg, states that the percentage of loss in this regiment was 
the greatest known in any battle of modern times — something like 87 to 89 
percentum. The regiment carried 800 into battle on .Tuly 2a. and came out 
with 216, all told, unhurt, and after the third day's battle, it had only eighty 
men fit for duty. 

The Virginia Military Institute 435 

Burke, John Waller, from Hanover County, Va. Sergeant, King 

William Artillery. Killed at Spottsylvania, May 12, 1864. 
Burke, Thomas Mundie, from Essex County, Va. Major, 55th 

Va. Infantry. Killed, Frdzier's Farm, June 30, 1862. 
Buster, William Dennis, from Charlotte County, Va. Private, 

V. M. I. Corps Cadets. Died about the time of the evacuation 

of Richmond, of fever cbnti-kcted in the trenches around Rich- 
mond, while serving with the Battalion of Cadets. 
Cabell, William Henry, from Richmond, Va. Ord. Sergeant, 

Co. D, Corps fcadets. Killed at New Market, May 15, 1864. 
Callcote, Alex. Daniel (this name has been variously spelled, but 

this is the correct spelling, as certified by himself), from Isle 

of Wight County, Va. Lieutenant-Colonel, 3d Va. Infantry. 

KiUed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 
Carpenter, Joseph Hannah, from Alleghany County, Va. 

Captain, Carpenter's Battery. Died February 5, 1863, of 

wound received at Slaughter's Mountain, in August, 1862. 
Carrington, AbrIji Cabell, from Charlotte County, Va. 1st 

Lieutenant, Co. D, 18th Va. Infantry, killed, Malvern Hill, 

June 30, 1862. 
Carter, James Pitman, from Frederick County, Va. Private, 7th 

Va. Cavalry. Killed, Spottsylvania Courthouse, May 5, 1864. 
Chenoweth, Joseph Hart, from Beverly, W. Va. Major, 31st Va. 

Infantry. Killed, June 9, 1862, at Port Republic. 
Claiborne, Thomas Doddridge, from Pittsylvania County, Va. 

Lieutenant-Colonel, 7th Confederate Cavalry. Wounded at 

Petersburg, and died Decembel: 29, 1864. 
Cherry, Joseph Blount, from Bertie County, N. C. Captain, Co. 

F, 4th N. C. Cavalry. Wounded near Petei:sburg, Marcb 29th, 

and died four days afterwards, April 2, 1865. 
Clopton, Alfred Willoughby, from Richmond, Va. Adjutant, 

34th N. C. Infantry. Died of typhoid fever contracted in the 

military service, September 9, 1864. 
Colston, Raleigh Thomas, from Berkeley County, W. Va. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, 2d Va. Infantry. Died of wound received near 

Mine Run, Va., NoviemVer 27, 1863. 
Cowherd, Charles Scott, from Orange County, Va. Private, 

"Gordonsville Girays," I3th Va. Infsintry. Died of camp fever, 

January 3, 1862. 
Crawford, Robert Anderson, from Augusta County, Va. Captain 

on Staff of General W. L. Jacksoii. Wounded at Dump 

Mountain. Died at McDowell, April 26, 1864. 
Connor, Alex. Simonton, from Bladen Springs, Ala. C. S. A. 

(command unknown). Died in 1869 from disease contracted in 

the Army. 
Chittenden, Lewellyn, from Lancaster County, Va. Lieutenant, 

Co. E, 40th Va. Infantry. Wounded at Frazier's Farm, June 

30, 1862, and died the following Wednesday. 

436 The Military History of 

Crockett, Charles Gay, from Wytheville, Va. Private, Co. B, 
Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 15, 1864. 

Crump, Charles A , from Powhatan County, Va. Colonel, 16th 

Va. Infantry. Killed, Gainesville, August 30, 1862. 

Chutchfield, Stapleton, from Spottsylvania County, Va. Colonel 
and Chief of Artillery, 2d Corps, Army N. Va. Killed April 
6, 1866, at Sailor's Creek, while commanding a brigade. 

Curry, Eugenia Granville, from Augusta County, Va. Sergeant 
and Drillmaster, 52d Va. Infantry. Died November 6, 1861, 
of typhoid pneumonia contracted in the military service. 

Dabney, Basil Gordon, from Albemarle County, Va. Private, 
Thomson's Horse Artillery. Wounded near Farmville, April 
6, 1865, and died same day, from carelessness of surgeon in 
amputating leg. 

Dabney, Edward Moon, from Albemarle County, Va. Captain, 
Co. C, 62d Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Fredericks- 
burg, and died December 23, 1862, ten days afterwards. 

Daniel, William Anderson, from Cumberland County, Va. Pri- 
vate, C. S. Cavalry. Died of pneumonia in the military service, 
April 5, 1863. 

Davidson, Albert (one of five brothers in C. S. A., three of whom 
were cadets, and three of whom were killed), from Lexington, 
Va. 1st Lieut, and A. A.-G. Wounded April 9th, and died 
May 6, 1865. 

Davis, James Lucius, Jr., from Henrico County, Va. Private, 10th 
Va. Cavalry (commanded by his father). Killed June 24, 
1864, near Samaria Church, Va. 

Davis, Thomas Bowker, from Lynchburg, Va. 2d Lieutenant, Co. 
D, 2d Va. Cavalry. Mortally wounded near Fisher's Hill, and 
died a prisoner at Winchester, October 20, 1864. 

Derby, Rev. Charles A., from Dinwiddle County, Va. Colonel, 
44th Ala. Infantry. Killed at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862. 

Dew, Daniel Boone, from King and Queen County, Va. Private, 
9th Va. Cavalry. Killed in June, 1863, near Middletown, Va., 
before he reached his regiment to report for duty. 

Deyerle, Madison Pitzer (an older brother graduated at V. M. I., 
in 1842, and died while assistant surgeon in U. S. Army, in 
1863; two other brothers were soldiers in the C. S. A.), from 
Roanoke County, Va. Captain, Co. I, 28th Va. Infantry. 
Mortally wounded at Williamsburg, and died May 14, 1862. 

Dove, Leslie Chambliss, from Richmond, Va. Courier on Staff of 
General J. R. Chambliss. Died from wound July 12, 1863, 
near Hagerstown, Md. 

Dudley, Thomas Clippord, from King and Queen County, Va. 2d 
Lieutenant, P. A., C. S. A. (on recommendation of Major Pel- 
ham in whose battery he had previously served). Wounded 
June 11, 1864, at TrevUians, and died July 9, 1864. 

The Virginia Military Institute 437 

Easley, William H., from Halifax County, Va. Captain, Co. C, 
3d Va. Cavalry. Died from disease contracted in the Army, 
December 11, 1861. 

Eastham, George Lawson, from Rappahannock County, Va. 
Private, 6th Va. Cavalry. Killed at Toms Brook, Va., October 
9, 1864. 

*Edmonds, Edward Claxton, from Fauquier County, Va. Colonel, 
38th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. (One 
of seven colonels who fell at Gettysburg who had been 
comrades at the V. M. I., and three of them roommates.) 

Edmondson, Howell Chastain, from Halifax County, Va. 
Private, 1st Richmond Howitzers. Died June 24, 1864, from 
typhoid fever contracted in the service. 

**Ellis, John Thomas, from Amherst County, Va. Lieutenant- 
Colonel, 19th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 

Eppes, Peter Francisco, from Sussex County, Va. C. S. A. (com- 
mand not known) . Died in hospital after the War, from effects 
of his military service. 

EviNS, James Selwyn, from Perry County, Ala. Lieutenant, 4th 
Ala. Infantry. Died in the military service, March 9, 1862. 

Fant, Edward Lewis, from Fauquier County, Va. Lieutenant, 8th 
Va. Infantry. Killed at Gaines's Mill, June, 1862. 

Fletcher, John, from Fauquier County, Va. Captain, Co. A, 7th 
Va. Cavalry. Killed at Buckton Station, Va., May 23, 1862. 

Forbes, James Fitzgerald, from Spottsylvania County, Va. 
Captain and Q. M., 9th Va. Cavalry, and acting as Aide to 
General Jackson, when mortally wounded at Chancellorsville. 
He fell about the same time General Jackson was wounded. 
He was carried to the home of Mr. Melzi Chancellor. Soon 
afterwards, a Federal officer mortally wounded was brought in 
and laid on the floor. At this extreme moment, illustrating the 
keynote of his whole life, he requested that he be placed on the 
bed by his side. Shortly afterwards, both died. 

Forbes, William Archibald, from Richmond, Va., later from 
Clarksville, Tenn. Colonel, 14th Tenn. Infantry. Killed at 
Second Manassas (having been previously wounded at 
Mechanicsville and Cold Harbor). 

Ford, Charles Edward, from Fairfax County, Va. 1st Lieutenant, 
Stuart Horse Artillery. Killed at Hanover C. H., May 26, 

♦In the campaign of 1863 Col. Edmonds commanded his brigade. After 
the battle of Gettysburg, a petition, signed by every officer present In the 
brigade, was forwarded to the Secretary of War, asking that Colonel Edmonds 
be appointed their brigadier as soon as exchanged (for a report had reached 
them that he was a prisoner of War). But alas, he had fallen with Armlstead, 
his Immortal commander ! (Colonel Bdmond's two younger brothers were also 
cadets, and one of them was Colonel of the 4th Texas Regiment In the Spanlsh- 

■^™»"lfter the 'battle of Williamsburg, Ms division commander, Major-General 
Pickett, always spoke of him as "one who can always be relied upon. 

438 The Military History of 

FowLKES, EusEBiuSj M. D., from Montgomery County^ Va. 
Captain^ Co. F, 11th Va. Infantry. Killed at Seven Pines, 
May 81, 1862. 

Fhazer, Philip Fouke, from Lewisburg, W. Va. Lieutenant- 
Colonel, 27th Va. Infantry. Killed at The Wilderness, May 
6, 1864. 

Gaines, Lewis Conner, from Culpeper County, Va. Private, 9th 
Va. Cavalry. Mortally wounded near Ashland, Va., and died 
July 8, 1864. 

Galt, William, from Fluvanna County, Va. Adjutant, 52d Va. 
Infantry. Wounded September 19th at Winchester, and died 
October 6, 1864. (Standing over his dead body, his surgeon 
said, "He was worth to the Army a hundred men.") 

Garland, Samuel, Jr., from Lynchburg, Va. Brigadier-General 
in D. H. Hill's Division, Army N. Virginia. Killed near 
Boonsboro, Md., September 14, 1862. His last words: "I am 
killed; send for the senior colonel, and tell him to take 

Garnett, Thomas Stuart, M. D., from Westmoreland County, Va. 
Colonel, 48th Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Chancellors- 
ville while heroically leading the 2d Brigade of the "Stonewall 
Division," and died the next day. His sister stated that his 
commission as brigadier-general was received as he lay dead, 
wrapped in the Confederate flag, in the Capitol at Richmond. 
(He had previously served as a gallant lieutenant in the Mexi- 
can War.) 

Gay, Charles Wyndham, from Staunton, Va. Private, Danville 
Artillery (Capt. Wooding). Killed at Malvern Hill, July 1, 

Gibbons, Simeon Beauford, from Page County, Va. Colonel, 10th 
Va. Infantry. Killed at McDowell, May 8, 1862. (Two 
younger brothers, both V. M. I. Alumni, were also in C. S. A.) 

GiBBS, John Tracy, Jr., from Lexington, Va. Corporal, Rock- 
bridge Artillery. Died from exposure and fatigue, September 
6, 1864. (Son of Capt. John T. Gibbs, Commissary, V. M. I.) 

GisiNER, John Timothy Dwight, from Rockbridge County, Va. 
Private, V. M. I. Corps Cadets. Died from disease contracted 
in the McDowell campaign. 

GooDE, Edmujntd, from Bedford County, Va. Colonel, 58th Va. 
Infantry. Died from exposure to the rigors of a winter's 
campaign in the mountains of Virginia, March, 1862. 

Grandy, Patrick Henry, from Norfolk, Va. 1st Lieutenant, Co. 
D, 1st N. C. Infantry. Killed at Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862. 

Grayson, Richard Osborne, from Loudoun County, Va. Lieu- 
tenant, Co. F, 8th Va. Infantry. Killed Gaines's Mill, June 
27, 1862. 

The Virginia Military Institute 439 

Green, William James, from Stafford County, Va. (One of three 
brothers, cadets of the V. M. I., all in C. S. A.) Lieutenant- 
Colonel, 47th Va. Infantry. Killed at Cold Harbor, June 27, 
1862. (He had but a few hours before expressed a hope that 
he might fall as became his lineage. He received two balls, 
one through the heart and the other through the stomach.) 

Ghigg, Francis G— — , from Greensville County, Va. Private, Co. 
H, 13th Va. Cavalry. Died March 8, 1865, a few days after 
returning from prison at Point Lookout, of disease contracted 

Grigg, Wesley Peyton, from Petersburg, Va. Sergeant, Martin's 
Battery. Died October 15, 1875, from disease contracted in 
the military service. 

Haden, Ansblm Henry, from Fincastle, Va. Lieutenant (com- 
mand not kr.own). Died in the military service, September 29, 

Haden, Joel Watkins (brother of the above), from Fincastle, Va. 
Adjutant, 7th Va. Cavalry. Died of wounds, November 19, 

Haigh, Charles Thomas, from Fayetteville, N. C. Lieutenant, 
Co. B, 37th N. C. Infantry. Killed at Spottsylvania C. H., 
May 12, 1864. After the battle of Gettysburg, his father per- 
mitted him to resign his cadetship ; and, though exempt by law, 
owing to his youthfulness, he thought it was every boy's duty 
to go to the front. He said to his cadet comrades: "Of what 
use will an education be, after we have been conquered. Boys, 
we must all join the Army; our country needs us. For my 
part, I can not stay here longer." He immediately resigned, 
and enlisted as a private, but was soon promoted, and, in less 
than ten months, sealed his devotion on the bloody field of 
Spottsylvania, crying: "Charge, boys, charge; the battery is 
ours." His brigade commander. General Lane, in general 
orders, said: "Lieutenant Haigh was among the foremost in 
the charge upon the battery, and won the admiration of all 
who saw him." 

*Hairston, John Adams, from Henry County, Va. Private, 24th 
Va. Infantry. Killed at the battle of Williamsburg, May 6, 

**Halcomb, Thomas Henry, from Marengo County, Ala. (For- 
merly of Mecklenburg County, Va.) Captain, Co. A, 11th Ala. 
Infantry. Killed at Frazier's Farm, June, 1862. 

•Confederate surgeons left with the wounded reported' that Generals 
McClellan and Hancock said this regiment and the 5th North Carolina Infantry 
(b'oth of Early's Brigade) deserved to have the word "immortal" Inscribed on 
their flags. 

••He lost the index finger of his right hand in the battle of Seven Pines ; 
but, nothing daunted, he Ted his regiment in the bloody battle of Frazier's 
Farm, thirty days afterwards, and fell in the successful assult on a 16 gun 
battery. He was first lieutenant at Seven Pines and was promoted immediately 

440 The Military History of 

Hambrick, Joseph Adam^ from Franklin County, Va. Major, 24th 
Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded May 16th at Drewry's Bluff, 
and died May 29, 1864. 

Hammet, William Richard (aged 19), from Montgomery County, 
Va. (One of three cadet brothers who were gallant Confed- 
erate officers.) Captain, Co; I, Colonel Henry Edmondson's 
Regiment of Infantry from Montgomery County, Va. Died in 
prison, Jime 30, 1866. 

Hammond, George Newkirk, from Berkeley County, W. Va. 
Captain, Co. B, 1st Va. Cavalry. Died May 16, 1864, of 
wound received near Richmond. 

Hannah, Joel Morton, from Charlotte County, Va. Private, 
V. M. I. Corps Cadets. Died April 17, 1865, from exposure 
in the trenches around Richmond, while serving with the 
Battalion of Cadets. 

Hardy, Julian Breedlove, from New Orleans, La. 2d Lieutenant, 
Crescent (La.) Regiment Infantry. Killed at Murfreesboro, 
Tenn., January 20, 1862. (A younger cadet brother survived 
the War.) 

Harman, Thomas Lewis, from Staunton, Va. 1st Lieutenant, 
Staunton (Va.) Artillery. Died of fever in the military service, 
September 15, 1861. 

Harrison, Carter Henry, from Cumberland County, Va. Major, 
11th Va. Infantry. Killed at the battle of Bull Run, July 18, 
1861. This noble Christian soldier wrote a few days before he 
was killed: "I desire to place myself entirely at the disposal 
of my Heavenly Father, knowing that if the first bullet I hear 
reaches my own body, or if, on the other hand, I should return 
home without seeing the flash of a gun, it will all be best for 
me in time, and best for me in eternity." And two days later: 
"I shall put my sword, etc., all in readiness before going to 
bed, and commit myself and all my dear ones to the care of 
Him 'without whom not a sparrow falleth to the ground.' " 
His son and grandson have followed him at the V. M. I. 

Hart, T Goodwin, from Warrenton, Va. Sergeant-Major, 

17th Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at the battle of 
Drewry's Bluff, May 12-16, 1864, and died two weeks later, at 
Chimborazo Hospital, Richmond, Va. 

Hartspield, Alva Curtis, from Wake County, N. C. Private, 
Corps Cadets. Died June 26, 1864. He fought bravely at 
New Market, and afterwards went with the Corps to the 
vicinity of Richmond. While in camp there he was taken ill 
and carried to a hospital. Evincing a great desire to go to his 
home, he was allowed a furlough. He attempted to walk from 
Richmond to Petersburg, and fell by the wayside exhausted, 
and remained there until discovered by a passer-by. He was 
carried to the hospital in Petersburg, and tenderly nursed, but, 

The Virginia Military Institute 441 

after lingering for several days, died from a relapse from 

Haynes, Luther Gary, from Essex County, Va. Private, Corps 
Cadets. Mortally wounded at New Market, May 15, 1864, 
and died one month afterwards at St. Charles Hotel Hospital, 
Richmond, Va. 

Helm, R Henry, from Fauquier Coimty, Va. Private, Black 

Horse Cavalry. Wounded at Trevilians, June 11, 1864, and 
died from maltreatment of surgeon in delaying the amputation 
of his leg. 

Heth, John, from Powhatan County, Va. 2d Lieutenant, 1st Va. 
(Irish) Battalion Infantry. Mortally wounded at battle of 
Kernstown, and died soon afterwards. 

Hill, John Wesley, from Rappahannock County, Va. Lieutenant 
(command not known). Killed at Gettysburg. 

Hopkins, Samuel Coffman, from Rockingham County, Va. Pri- 
vate, McNeill's Rangers. Died just after returning from 
prison, March 31, 1864. 

Hunter, Henry Woodis, from Norfolk, Va. 2d Lieutenant, C. S. 
Ordnance. Died in the military service, January 15, 1862. 
His commander. Col. Briscoe G. Baldwin, said in his official 
announcement of his death : "Lieut. Hunter, by his amiability, 
intelligence, and gentlemanly deportment, had endeared him- 
self to very person connected with the post. He was a most 
promising young officer. I have lost a noble comrade, the 
service a gallant soldier." 

Irvine, Alexander J , from Bedford County, Va. Corporal, 

Co. G, 2d Va. Cavalry. KiUed at 1st Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

*Jackson, Alfred Eugene, from Washington County, Tenn. Ad- 
jutant, 29th Tenn. Infantry. Died from disease contracted in 
the military service, March 6, 1862. 

Jameson, James H , from Culpeper County, Va. Captain, 

Va. Infantry. Was seriously wounded at Drainsville, 

and captured. After a long imprisonment in 1863, died in 
Richmond, in 1864, on his way home. 

**Jarrell, Thomas George, from Mercer County, W. Va. Lieu- 
tenant, Co. B, 36th Va. Infantry. Killed June 6, 1864. 

•His ancestors both paternal and maternal held conspicuous positions in 
the Army of their country, both in the Revolution and in the War of 1812. In 
the battle of Fishing Creek, Kentucky, he commanded his regiment, having 
his horse killed under him. 

♦•Throughout the campaign in Northwestern Virginia, he behaved with 
distinguished gallantry, bemg severely wounded in the battle of Fayettevllle, 
but remained on the field until the enemy was put to flight. At the battle of 
Piedmont, on the 5th of June, 1864, after the brave General Jones was killed, 
and the enemy was breaking through our lines in all directions. Lieutenant 
Jarreii, rallying his company, covered the retreat across the river. This little 
band, by their determined resistance, checked the advance of the enemy until 
a crossing had been effected. To accomplish this, however, most of the com- 
pany were captured, or killed, among the latter, Lieutenant Jarrell, shot dead 
on the field. He fell with his face to the foe, his name on the lips of many 
who by his bravery that day had escaped capture, or death, themselves. 

442 The Military History of 

Jefferson, Monroe Garland, from Amelia County, Va. Private, 
Co. B, Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 15, 1864. 

Johnston, Peyton, Jr., from Richmond, Va. 2d Lieutenant, Rich- 
mond Fayette Artillery. Killed at 2d Cold Harbor, June 12, 
1864. (A younger brother graduated at the V. M. I., and be- 
came a very distinguished electrical engineer, and built the first 
electric railway in the world, at Richmond, Va.) 

*JoNES, Edward Pope, M. D., from Middlesex County, Va. Colonel 
of Va. Militia. Captured and imprisoned at Fort Delaware, 
and while a prisoner was murdered by his guard in 1864. 

**JoNES, Francis Buckner, from Frederick County, Va. Major, 
2d Va. Infantry. Lost a leg at Cold Harbor, June 27, 1862, 
and died in Richmond, July 9, 1862. 

Jones, Henry Jenner, from King William County, Va. Private, 
Co. D, Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 16, 1864. 

Jones, William David, from Rockbridge County, Va. Surgeon, 
C. S. A. Died in service, 1862. 

Jordon, Harry E , from Richmond, Va. Private, "Liberty Hall 

Volunteers." Later transferred to a North Carolina Regiment. 
Died of wounds received in battle, June 16, 1864. 

Keeling, Robert H , from Richmond, Va. Captain, 13th Ala. 

Infantry. Killed at Seven Pines, May 31, 1862, while acting 

fKEiTER, William, from Hampshire County, W. Va. Captain, 
Tenn. Heavy Artillery. Killed by the bursting of the big gun, 
"The Lady Polk," at Fort DeRussey, near Columbus, Ky., 
November 8, 1861. 

*At the organization of one of the first companies in his county, Colonel 
Jones had become a member, but had withdrawn, and was, in May, 1863, still 
holding his commission of colonel ol the Middlesex Militia. At that time 
Kilpatrlck made a raid through the county. Col. Jones endeavored to raise 
a force to oppose the enemy, but could get together in the hurry only about 30 
old men who were utterly undisciplined and poorly armed. He, therefore, 
abandoned his purpose, and went to a neighbor's residence where that night 
he was captured by the enemy and sent to Johnson's Island, and thence to 
Fort Delaware. The late gallant Lieutenant-Colonel (Dr.) William S. Christian 
of the 55th Virginia Infantry, was a fellow prisoner with him at Johnson's 
Island for a while, before his own removal to another prison, and he related 
the following account of his murder, as given by Captain Shelton, an eye- 
witness. Colonel Jones was very lame and required assistance in walking. 
Returning from the "sinks" with the aid of Captain Shelton, one day in 1864, 
the sentinel ordered him to walk faster. "This man is lame and can not walk 
faster," said Shelton. The sentinel then ordered Shelton to "let him go," 
adding, "He has to walk faster, or he will not walk any more," and then com- 
manded Shelton to "step aside," and Immediately fired at Jones, some yards 
away, with his side turned toward him. The ball broke his arm and went 
through his body. He died some hours afterward ; and it was said this 
sentinel was promoted first sergeant for such an heroic act as "killing a 
rebel." Colonel Christian said he knew these facts to be true. (See "Rebellion 

**His biographer said of this gallant officer and godly man, — "Duty to God 
and man, — the discharge of conscientious Christian duty, was the pole-star 
towards which all his efforts tended, and on which the whole action of his 
life was based. 

He suffered and died with the self-abnegation of a martyr, and the un- 
flinching courage and calm composure of a Christian hero and soldier." 

tVarious accounts by eye-witnesses have been given of this incident, but 
these seem to be the facts : The big gun was an 8-ton rifled Columbia and 
carried a projectile (cone-shaped) that weighed 128 pounds. It had first been 

The Virginia Military Institute 443 

Kent, James Randal, Jr., from Pulaski County, Va. 2d Lieu- 
tenant, Co! E, Va. Infantry. Died near Fairfax Station, 
Va., September 4, 1861, from disease contracted in the military 

KiNCHELOE, James Macon, from Fauquier County, Va. Adjutant, 
17th Tenn. Infantry. Died of disease August 26, 1861. Liv- 
ing in Tennessee at the breaking out of the War, he was ap- 
pointed by th^ Governor drillmaster, with the rank of major; 
but desirous of reaching his native state, he finally attached 
himself to the 17th Tennessee Infantry Regiment, as adjutant, 
this regiment being then under marching orders to join the 
Army in Virginia, at Manassas. Overtaken by disease at 
Bristol, he died on the 26th of August, 1861. The officers of the 
regiment met September 17, 1861, and passed resolutions most 
complimentary to their late associate, testifying to his "natural 
genius, scientific attainments, and personal excellencies," and 
his preeminent qualifications as a tactician and a soldier. 

Kinney, Thomas Colston, from Staunton, Va. Lieutenant, Staff 
of General Edward Johnson. Died at Staunton on July 28, 
1 863, of typhoid, fever. 

His first assignment was as lieutenant of artillery in the com- 
mand of General Wise in Northwestern Virginia, and at 
Roanoke Island. In the disastrous fight at the latter place, 
after firing the last round of ammunition from his howitzer, 
on the flank of the sea-coast batteries, he fell from the effects 
of the concussion of a shell, and was taken prisoner. After his 
exchange, he served as lieutenant of engineers until the fall of 
his great Chief at Chancellorsville, when he was transferred to 
the Staff of General Edward Johnson, and bore up under im- 
paired health until the return of the Army from Pennsylvania 
to his native soil, when he was stricken down by disease and 
brought home to die. 

fired (with great effect) the day before (Nov. 7, 1861), at the battle of Belmont. 
The gun was mounted on a high bluff at Fort DeBussey, oyerlooking the 
Mississippi Elver and the field of Belmont opposite. The day after the battle 
of Belmont, in the forenoon. General Pollj came to the works on a tour of 
inspection and sent for Captain Kelter of the Heavy Artillery, who had had 
command of this gun the day before. The General complimented him and his 
men on the skill and efficiency with which they handled the gun in tbe previous 
day's engagement, in a very handsome manner, which gratified the captain 
very much. It was learned that the gun had been left loaded, and Captain 
Kelter suggested that it be discharged. To this General Polk acquiesced. 
Thereupon the captain ordered up the "firing squad." There was nothing 
(several witnesses declare) said about anythine being wrong with the pro- 
jectiles, or suggesting danger, else General Polk would not have risked the 
lives of those around to gratify a whim, (yet there were such rumors im- 
mediately after the accident). When the gun was fired by Captain Kelter 
It hwrst, and the smaller powder magazine under the parapet blew up. Eleven 
were killed, including Captain, Kelter and Ms whole firing sguad, besides 
Lieutenant Snowden of the Engineers, and Major Ford of General Polk's 
Staff, and the General himself was knocked senseless ; he was carried to bis 
quarters and In a few weeks was out again, but he was never a well man 
afterwards. After the war. Captain Kelter's old company had his remains 
brought to Shelbyville, Tennessee, and erected a monument over his grave 
in the Confederate Cemetery of that place. 

444 The Military History of 

KiRBY, EdmunDj from Richmond, Va. Lieutenant-Colonel, 58th 
N. C. Infantry. Killed at Chickamanga. (Son of Major Regi- 
nald Marvin Kirby, 1st Regiment Artillery, U. S. Army, who 
died in the service of his country during the Florida War. His 
paternal grandfather was Colonel Ephraim Kirby, of the Con- 
tinental Army, who served with gallantry and distinction 
throughout the Revolutionary War, and was one of the original 
members of the "Society of the Cincinnati." A great jurist, he 
took part in the negotiations for the purchase of Louisiana, 
and was afterwards Judge of the Superior Court of that state. 
His mother was a daughter of David Barclay, a descendant of 
the family of John Knox, the Reformer, who came from Scot- 
land, settled in Richmond, Va., 1806, and later married Ann 
Hooff Gretter, of Alexandria, Va.) Edmund Kirby graduated 
at the Virginia Military Institute in 1861, having been matricu- 
lated by his mother who after her husband's death, when 
Edmund was three years old, returned with her five children 
to her father's home in Richmond. 

After serving with the Corps of Cadets, drilling the 
volunteer troops at Camp Lee, Richmond, he was relieved and 
attached to a Tennessee Regiment, and marched with it to 
Harper's Ferry; but a severe illness compelled his return to 
Richmond. Upon his recovery, he joined R. Lindsay Walker's 
Battery, as a private, and was soon made a sergeant. Soon 
the whole company was placed under his instruction, and the 
efficiency it afterwards displayed in action justified the trust 
reposed in him. 

In 1863, upon the application of Colonel J. B. Palmer, com- 
manding the 58th North Carolina Infantry and 5th Battalion 
North Carolina Cavalry, Kirby was transferred, and appointed 
adjutant of the 58th regiment. He became the favorite of his 
regiment, and, on the resignation of its lieutenant-colonel, was 
almost unanimously elected by his comrades to fill the vacancy. 
Before his commission arrived, but some time after he had 
entered upon his new duties, the battle of Chickamauga 

Through an error of brigade formation, Kirby's regiment 
reached the summit of the hill some little time before the re- 
maider of the brigade came under fire. His regiment was thus 
subjected to a severe cross fire, under which Lieutenant- 
Colonel Kirby fell, pierced by five balls, with the words: 
"Drive them, boys," on his lips. No more gallant officer fell 
in that bloody conflict. A brother had fallen earlier in the 
War, and the remains of the two heroes reposed together in 
the family burial-plot in old Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond, Va. 
KooNTZ, Hugh Ramsey Thompson, from Shenandoah County, Va. 
Captain, Co. K, 7th Va. Cavalry. Mortally wounded while 

The Virginia Militaky Institute 445 

commanding his regiment in pursuit of Sheridan (a few miles 
from his home), and died the next day, October 8, 1864. 

Lackland, Francis, from Charles Town, W. Va. Lieutenant- 
Colonel, 2d Va. Infantry. Died September 4, 1861, from 
disease contracted in the military service. At the first battle 
of Manassas his conduct was marked by such coolness and 
gallantry that he was mentioned by name by General Johnston 
in his official report of the battle. The Spirit of Jefferson, the 
leading paper of his section, on the morning after his death, 
said: "He entered the service as a lieutenant-colonel, in deli- 
cate health, yet, neither the advantage of position nor the 
entreaty of friends could prevent him from sharing alike with 
all his comrades in arms the exposure of camp, the fatigue of 
the drill, and, of all else, that which was most dear to his 
heart, the danger and peril of battle. The bloody record of 
Manassas bears evidence of his undaunted courage, scientific 
skill, ardent and patriotic devotion to his native State. There 
was no post of danger that he did not covet, that honor might 
be won by his regiment and victory for the day." 

Lanohorne, Jacob Kent, from Christiansburg, Va. Private, 2d 
Va. Cavalry. Killed near Brandy Station, June 9, 1863. 

Latimer, Joseph White, from Prince William County, Va. Major, 
Andrews' Battalion of Artillery. Wounded July 2d, at Gettys- 
burg, losing his right arm; died August 1, 1863. 

He was called the "Boy Major," though he was really a 
lieutenant-colonel when he died. He was a most brilliant 
young officer. The immortal Jackson, his old preceptor at the 
V. M. I., thus spoke of him when he was a lieutenant under 
his command: "This young officer was conspicuous for the 
coolness, judgment, and skill with which he managed his 
battery, fully supporting the opinion I had formed of his high 
merit." Many such compliments did he receive from officers 
of high rank. General EweU called him his "little Napoleon." 
Major A. R. Courtney who was lieutenant of the "Hampden 
Artillery" which Latimer drilled at the Camp of Instruction 
in Richmond, in June, 1861, has written very feelingly of him, 
in "The Virginia Military Institute Memorial." 

"While on drill," Major Courtney said, "we paid him the 
utmost respect, both men and officers yielding prompt 
obedience to every order, and off drill we fondled and caressed 
him as if he were a child. He was the 'officers' pet,' and we 
always spoke of him as 'our little Latimer.' " (He was then 
about 18 years old, small but dapper, and a superb cadet officer 
and most efficient drillmaster.) 

Major Courtney said those under his command all loved him, 
and never was one heard to speak of him in any but terms of 
the highest praise. 

446 ' The Military History of 

When wounded his horse was killed and fell on him. 
Captain Dement of the same battalion, who was with him on 
the field of Gettysburg, and assisted in removing him from 
the field, said: "His bearing during the day was most gallant, 
showing the greatest coolness and bravery under the most try- 
ing circumstances," and that while he was under his horse he 
continued to give orders and seemed to think only of his com- 
mand, undismayed by the King of Terrors — an artillery officer, 
not yet twenty years of age, whose equal could scarcely be 
found in the Armies of the Confederacy. Asked by his brother. 
Dr. Latimer, if he was afraid to die, he answered: "No, for 
my trust is in God." 

His remains found sepulture in the Cemetery at Harrison- 
burg, Va., where a fitting monument will soon be erected to his 

Lauck, Charles Edward, M. D., from Winchester (later Rock- 
bridge County), Va.. 2d Lieutenant, 4th Va. Infantry. Died 
of typhoid fever in the military service, August 7, 1862. 

Lawrence, Walter Allen, from Nansemond County, Va. Private, 
Co. F, 9th Va. Infantry. Died at Banner Hospital, Richmond, 
Va., October 28, 1862, of disease contracted in the military 
service. (He was exempt from military service on account of 
lameness from childhood, but he insisted on enlisting.) 

Lawson, John, from Richmond, Va. Major, 59th Va. Infantry. 
Wounded in the head at Five Forks, and died from the effects 
in 1870. 

Lee, Nathaniel Ware, from Greenville, Miss. Private, Co. D, 
28th Mississippi Cavalry. Died from wound, June 17, 1863. 

Lee, William Fitzhugh, from Fairfax County, Va. Lieutenant- 
Colonel, 33d Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at First 

After graduating in 1853 at the V. M. I., he received a 
commission in the Army as second lieutenant. While serving 
at his post at the Arsenal in St. Louis, early in 1861, news 
came of the stirring events transpiring in his native State. He 
expressed disapprobation of the course being pursued by the 
Federal Government towards the South, whereupon he was 
arrested by Captain Lyons (of bloody notoriety), and kept a 
prisoner until court-martialed. After his release, sending in 
his resignation, he hurried to Virginia to offer her his sword. 
He was first appointed captain in the Confederate Army and 
was ordered to duty at Harper's Ferry. While engaged in the 
training of the raw recruits of the recently formed Army, he 
was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the 33d Virginia 
Infantry. On the field of First Manassas he twice captured 
Ricketts' famous Battery, but so galling was the fire that each 

The Virginia Military Institute 447 

time it was lost. The third time, it was taken and kept; but, 
ere this was accomplished. Colonel Lee fell mortally wounded. 
He lingered several days at a private house in the vicinity of 
the battlefield, tenderly nursed by his wife and friends, and 
visited by his father's friend, the Rev. Dr. Andrews, a fellow- 
clergyman of the Episcopal Church. 

He was perfectly resigned to the will of his Heavenly 
Father, yet his love for his mother made him call often for her, 
sorrowing for the crushing blow that he knew was so soon to 
fall upon her. The dying blessing of his good father, the 
Reverend William F. Lee, had rested upon him from his fifth 
year, and, all through his fatherless boyhood and matured life, 
there was a chivalry in his devotion to his widowed mother 
that made him ever mindful of her happiness. "He had lived 
a soldier and a Christian; he died, proudly vindicating his 
title to the former, and, through faith in Christ Jesus, humbly 
trustful that he was the latter." 

General Jackson spoke of his gallantry and courage in the 
highest terms, and expressed to Hxmter McGuire, his Medical 
Director, the most profound regret at his loss. 
Leftwich, James Claytor, from Franklin County, Va. Private, 
Co. I, 2d Va. Cavalry. Killed while a prisoner at Kelly's Ford, 
March 17, 1863. 

He was a drillmaster with the Corps of Cadets in Richmond 
from April to the early part of June, 1861. In July, he 
volunteered in Co. B, 14th Va. Infantry, commanded by his 
brother. Captain Thomas Leftwich. He later joined Co. I, 
2d Va. Cavalry. He was in all the battles around Richmond 
from the 26th to the 30th of June, 1862, and bore a con- 
spicuous part in all the battles in which his splendid regiment 
was engaged, under the gallant Munford (V. M. I.), up to the 
time of the battle of Kelly's Ford, 17th March, 1863, where his 
horse was shot under him, and he was captured. Our cavalry 
drove the enemy back ; but, to prevent his recapture, or escape 
rather, they shot him in the left side, the ball lodging in the 
spine. His wound proved fatal; lingering in excruciating 
agony till June- 10th, he died at the home of his brother, in 
Bedford County, Va. 

A gallant and fearless soldier, ever at his post, always in 
the hottest of the fight, he received his deathblow from an 
unworthy foe, who violated every law of humanity and civili- 
zation in this dastardly act. 
Lewis, Andrew Donnelly, from Kanawha County, W. Va. 
Captain, "Crescent Rifles," of New Orleans. Wounded at 
Shiloh, he died just before (or just after) the War ended, of 
his wound. 

448 The Military History of 

Logan, Richard, Jr., from Halifax County, Va. Captain, Co. H, 
14th Va. Infantry. Killed, Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. His 
company was mustered into the service of the State in May, 
1861, and was subsequently transferred to the service of the 
Confederate States. His regiment was first engaged at Seven 
Pines, and subsequently with distinction in the bloody battle 
of Malvern Hill, Captain Logan being in command of the 
regiment during the latter part of that battle. 

He commanded his company in all the battles fought except 
Chancellorsville, at which time his division was investing 
Suffolk, — ^until the day of his death, — Second Manassas, 
Sharpsburg, Harper's Ferry, Fredericksburg, Suffolk, and, 
lastly, Gettysburg. He led his company in the celebrated 
charge of Pickett's Division on the ever-memorable 3d of July, 
1863; and, at the close of the action, after having aided in 
capturing the enemy's guns, he fell, facing the enemy, pierced 
by a ball which passed entirely through his body, about the 
region of the heart. He died without uttering a word. 

Lylb, Alexander, from Charlotte County, Va. Private, Mosby's 
Cavalry Battalion. Mortally wounded in the summer of 1868, 
at Warrenton Junction. 

He enlisted before he had reached his seventeenth year. He 
fell into the hands of the enemy by whom he was carried to 
Alexandria, where he died in a hospital, in the month of June 
of that year. 

Just one year before, his gallant brother. Captain Matthew 
Lyle, fell in the battle of Gaines's Mill. 

Alexander Lyle was attended in his last moments by a 
Federal chaplain. He died composedly about two o'clock in 
the afternoon. When death came, he met it with fortitude and 
resignation, and passed away without visible pain or struggle, 
receiving the last offices of Christian benevolence at the hands 
of those with whom resentment had melted into admiring pity. 
He sleeps side by side with his Northern adversaries, and when 
flesh and heart were failing, received this unsolicited and un- 
looked-for tribute from the stranger: "A brave and noble 
young man !" 

Lynch, David Campbell, from Abingdon, Va. Private, "Wash- 
ington Mounted Riflemen." Died at Orange C. H., Va., March 
3, 1863, from disease contracted in the military service. 

Macon, Edgar, from Orange County, Va. 2d Lieutenant, Thomas's 
Artillery. Killed at First Manassas, July 21, 1861. Lieu- 
tenant Macon, after having borne the heat and burden of the 
day, fell a victim to a random shot, fired after the battle was 
over and the enemy were retiring. He had just mounted his 
horse, preparatory to withdrawing from the field, when he was 
struck by a shell and instantly killed. 

The Vibginia Militaky Institute 449 

He was the only son of a widowed mother, and left a wife 
and an infant son born three days before his death. He was a 
great-nephew of President Madison, and his remains repose 
in the Cemetery at Montpelier, where rest his ancestors of 
many generations. 

Macon, Miles Gary, from Hanover County, Va. Captain, Rich- 
mond "Fayette Artillery." Killed April 8, 1865. 

From the beginning to the end, he was the commander of 
this famous battery. He passed through many battles un- 
touched, and was reserved for one of the last victims, being 
killed at Appomattox Courthouse, the day before the surrender 
of the Army of Northern Virginia. 

Madison, John Young Stockdell, from Petersburg, Va. Private, 
Braxton's Artillery. Died of fever soon after the battle of 
First Manassas, and near the battlefield. 

Magruder, John Bowie, from Albemarle County, Va. Colonel, 
57th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863. 

He had graduated at the close of the session of 1859-60, at 
the University of Virginia, with the degree of Master of Arts, 
in his 21st year. In the spring of 1861, he matriculated at the 
V. M. I., for the purpose of perfecting himself in military 
science, as a preparation for the exigencies of the War, then 
imminent. He made a superb officer, rising to eminence while 
still very young, and sealing his devotion to his country with 
his life's blood, at Gettysburg. 

Mallory, Francis, from Hampton, Va. Colonel, 55th Va. Infan- 
try. Killed at ChanceUorsviUe, May 2, 1863. 

He graduated in 1853. Three years afterwards, he was com- 
missioned second lieutenant in the Fourth United States Infan- 
try. For five years he was in active service in Oregon and 
Washington Territories, and received his first experience of 
warfare on the slopes of the Pacific. Ambitious of glory, daring 
and resolute, he shrank from neither danger nor difficulties, but 
courted adventure. On one occasion, he, personally and alone, 
captured an Indian chief, and, disarming him, brought him a 
prisoner to the post. On April 2, 1861, he wrote his mother 
from Fort Cascades: "... I consider it as much my 
duty to side with my State against all enemies, as I would to 
defend and protect you, my dear mother, from the whole world, 
right or wrong. Should I fall in the defense of my mother, 
or my State, the only regret would be that I had not a hundred 
lives to offer, instead of one." "Such a sentiment is the key 
of the whole man, since he who could feel and pen it, and then 
die in its support, possessed all the elements of true manhood 
and greatness !" 


450 The Military History of 

Marable, David Adoniram Judson^ from Sussex County, Va. 
Private, Co. A, 41st Va. Infantry. Wounded in Seven Days' 
battles around Richmond, while carrying his regiment's colors, 
and died in Richmond, — 1862. 

Mark, John Quincy, from Warrenton, Va. Captain, "Warrenton 
Rifles." Killed at Fairfax C. H., Va., June 1, 1861. "First 
blood of the War." 

Commissioned lieutenant-colonel in the active volunteer 
forces of Virginia (commission bearing date 5th of May, 1861). 
Graduated at V. M. I., July 4, 1846, "Second Distinguished." 
Assistant Professor, V. M. I. ; Presiding Justice of Magis- 
trate's Court; High Sheriff of Fauquier County; Member 
Secession Convention of Virginia. 

Marshall, James Keith, from Fauquier County, Va. Colonel, 
52d N. C. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1868, 
aged 24. 

He commanded Pettigrew's Brigade in the battle. He had 
passed the stone fence in the charge on Cemetery Hill, and, 
while cheering his men, received two balls in his forehead 
which caused his instant death. 

Matthews, Walter T , from Richmond, Va. Private, 3d Rich- 
mond Howitzers. Killed at Fredericksburg, December 13, 

May, Benj. Harrison, M. D., from Petersburg, Va. Color- 
Bearer, 12th Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Spottsyl- 
vania C. H., and died May 16, 1864. He behaved with 
dauntless courage, all witnesses testify. 

McCance, Robert Gardner, from Richmond, Va. Private, Otey 
Battery. Killed in camp, near Petersburg, Va., April 27, 
1862, while walking from his tent to his gun, by a shot from 
the enemy's guns. 

His captain, the brave David N. Walker, wrote his father: 
I have never heard an oath or an unclean speech 
from him — things so common in the Army — and he was re- 
markably free from all bad habits which fell constantly under 
his eye. I mean what I say, when I call him noble, manly, 
generous, brave !" 

McDonald, Craig Woodrow, from Hampshire County, W. Va. 
Aide-de-Camp to General Elzey. Killed, Gaines's Mill, June, 
1862. (Brother of Colonel Marshall McDonald, professor for 
many years at the V. M. I., and of Kenneth McDonald, 
graduated in 1873.) 

He had a presentiment that he would be killed in this battle, 
yet the feeling did not dampen the ardor of his zeal. He saw 
a portion of the lines wavering, and with quick perception 
realized that disaster was imminent. Without waiting for 

The Virginia Military Institute 451 

orders he hurriedly rode back for the reinforcements he knew 
to be coming. General Walker gave the command to "double 
quick." The column swept forward to the rescue, McDonald 
at the head, waving his cap high ifa air, and, with clarion voice, 
shouting: "Rescue!" A grapeshot struck him in the breast, 
and he fell dead. 

McDowell, William Hugh, from Mecklenburg County, N. C. 
Private, Co. B, CorpEl Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 
15, 1864. 

McGehee, Nathaniel Madison, from Louisa County, Va. Private, 
Co. C, 23d Va. Infantry. Killed near Strasburg, Va., May 28, 

McKiNNEY, Robert M , from Lynchburg, Va. Colonel, 15th 

N. C. Infantry. Killed on Virginia Peninsula, April 16, 1862. 

He had expressed a conviction that he would be lulled in his first 
battle. How sadly was that foreboding realized! At the time 
he was called to command this regiment, he occupied a pro- 
fessor's chair in the North Carolina Military Institute. 

Me ARES, Levin W ,.from Hampton, Va. Private, "Old Do- 
minion Dragoons," Co. D, 3d Va. Cavalry. Died of typhoid 
fever in the military service, in 1862. 

Meem, James Lawrence, from Lynchburg, Va. Captain and A. 
A.-G. Garland's Brigade. Killed at the battle of Seven Pines. 
He spent the day in the thickest of the fight, cheering his men, 
and sharing their hardships, and dangers, having two horses 
killed under him. Towards its close, when inside the enemy's 
breastworks from which they had been driven, he was pierced 
by one of their balls and fell dead. 

An officer of high rank, and his devoted friend, thus wrote 
of Captain Meem: "I must tell you with what beautiful con- 
sistency my gallant comrade each night drew out his Testa- 
ment and reverently read a chapter before retiring to rest. 
The regularity and feeling with which this was done — in the 
camp, on the picket, in the very presence of the enemy — his 
remarkable purity of character (almost woman-like), and 
frequent expressions of his, inspired me with hope and con- 
fidence. ... I shall think of him as a Bayard, 'Sans peur 
et sans reproche.' . . He is always spoken of as the 

gallant Captain Meem." 

(An older brother was likewise a graduate of the Viirginia 
Military Institute, whose five sons and grandson are also 

Miller, Randolph Russell, from Shenandoah County, Va. 1st 
Lieutenant, Co. A, 10th Va. Infantry. Killed at ChanceUors- 
ville, while leading his regiment, and after recapturing his 
colors (his senior officers having fallen, and the colors having 
been lost). 

452 The Militaby History of 

Milton, George Robert, M. D., from Winchester, Va. (later, 
from Missouri). Colonel in Price's Army. Died May 31, 
1865, from effects of exposure in the military service. 

MopFETT, John Stuart, from Rockbridge County, Va. Cadet 
Drillmaster in 4th Va. Infantry, and a volunteer. Killed at 
First Manassas, July 21, 1861. 

(John Moffett, Charlie Moore, and Charlie Norris all be- 
came brother-cadets within a few days of one another, entered 
service together, and on the same day died for the common 
Mother Country, in their first battle for her rights.) 

Mopfett, Walter Franklin, from Rappahannock County, Va. 
Private, Co. B, 6th Va. Cavalry. Killed at Yellow Tavern, 
May 11, 1864. 

Montague, Andrew Jackson, from Middlesex County, Va. Pri- 
vate, Co. C, 66th Va. Infantry. Died July 12th, from wound 
received in battle of Gaines's Mill, June 27, 1862. 

His gallant lieutenant-colonel (William S. Christian) wrote 
the V. M. I. Historiographer: "I was commanding the regi- 
ment in that fight, and young Montague was only a few feet 
from me when he was shot. He turned to me and said, 
'Colonel, I am shot, but I think I can continue to fight.' I 
looked at him, and seeing the blood streaming from his arm 
and body, said, 'Jack, go at once to the rear, and see the 
surgeon.' That was the last time I ever saw him. He was a 
most gallant and excellent soldier, in camp and in the field. 
A short time before the battles around Richmond, in June, 
1862, a vacancy occurred in Co. C, of junior second lieutenant. 
At that time, the men elected their officers. At that election, 
Montague and my brother (Dr. R. A. Christian) were both 
nominated. My brother was elected by only a majority of two 
votes, thus showing the estimate in which Jack Montague was 
held by his comrades." 

MooMAU, John Bean, from Pendleton Coxmty, W. Va. Captain, 
"Franklin Guards." Died in military service, in 1864. 

MooRE, Charles W , from Abingdon, Va. Cadet Drillmaster 

(acting captain). Killed at First Manassas July 21, 1861, as 
a volunteer. 

(See John S. Moffett above.) 

Captain Robert McCulloch, a comrade of Moore's at the 
V. M. I., foxmd his body and buried it on the battlefield, and 
wrote his mother where it was buried, and how the grave was 
marked; so that his mother was able to identify the grave 
and re-inter the body of her gallant young son. 

Morgan, Edward Ford, from Augusta, Ga. Major, 8th Va. 
Battalion Infantry. Died January 3, 1869, from disease con- 
tracted in the military service. 

The Virginia Military Institute 453 

He is said to have been the youngest major in the Army, at 
the time of. his appointment. He was severely wounded at 
Atlanta (at first thought mortally) by a minie ball which 
passed through his neck, but after a few months he was able 
to resume duty in the field. 

After the disastrous battles of Franklin and Nashville (in 
which he was not engaged, owing to a severe attack of ery- 
sipelas, doubtless superinduced by his late serious wound), he 
was in command of what remained of Gist's Brigade, though 
he was only a major in rank. He clung to the western Army, 
and shared its fate in North Carolina. 

Few of his youthful compatriots possessed more of the 
elements of a soldier. He was a boy in years, but a man in 
attributes. The last few years of his short but eventful life 
were spent in superintending a plantation in Alabama, and 
there in the morning of life, on the 3d day of January, 1869, 
he died, from disease contracted in the service of his country. 
Morgan, William Henry, from Chesterfield County, Va. Captain, 
Co. F, 21st Va. Infantry. Killed at Cedar Run, August 9, 

He enlisted June, 1861, as adjutant of the 21st Va. Infan- 
try, and was soon elected Captain of Co. F, of that regiment 
(famous "F" Co. of Richmond). His V. M. I. comrade. 
Captain John D. Young (himself a gallant Confederate 
officer), prepared for "The Virginia Military Institute 
Memorial" a fitting and touching sketch of this superb soldier 
and noble gentleman. "Perhaps," says Captain Young, "there 
is nothing that so fascinates the gaze of the soldier and diverts 
his attention from the horrors of the battlefield and its 
attendant fears and misgivings, as the spectacle of an officer 
who calmly and fearlessly looks death in the face; one who 
bears himself with the ease and serenity that becomes the 
drawing-room, rather than the disordered arena of carnage; 
who, without the least bravado, yet with the high pride and 
courage that scorns the base thought of fear, encourages others, 
and stands with waiting patience to meet his fate; one, in 
short, who knows no compromise with duty. In such noble 
presence even the basest minds must feel the electric effect of 
their proximity; it is the touch of nature that makes all akin, 
and mesmerizes the mind and body of the crowd to the strong 
will of the leader. 

"Thus it was, that Morgan, reckless of his own life, moved 
with careless ease before his men whom he compelled to lie 
down under the severe artillery fire to which they were 

454 The Military History of 

"In the meantime, the pressure in front of the brigade had 
become very much increased; the irregular line of skirmishers 
were replaced by solid masses of infantry; the advance had 
begun, and in a few minutes a fierce force poured down on the 
2d Brigade, overlapping its left flank, and filling the gap 
between the brigade and the "Stonewall." The last corps 
(taken on the flank, and in reverse) at once broke, as did also 
the left regiment of the 2d Brigade. It was reserved for the 
21st Regiment to stay the torrent, and hold in check for a few 
minutes only (but yet how important even that time !) the 
victorious enemy. 

"In this melee, Morgan, ever foremost in action, met a 
glorious death, while encouraging his men to stand fast and 
do their duty. 

"Thus fell, in the prime of life, a most gallant soldier and 
virtuous gentleman. Throughout his military career, he never 
failed either in the comprehension or performance of his duty ; 
and, in the high promise that he gave of future usefulness, it is 
not too much to say that the scope of his office was far too 
small to show the extent of his genius. No greater compliment 
could be rendered him as an officer than the discipline of his 
company under the trying circumstances of his death." 

He graduated in 1860, "First Captain" of his Class, and 
was immediately appointed an assistant professor at the 
Institute. (Two younger brothers were also cadets with hiili.) 

Morton, Tignal Jones, from Mecklenburg County, Va. Colonel, 

53d Tenn. Infantry. Died , 1871, from effects of wounds 

received in the military service. 

Neff, John Francis, from Shenandoah County, Va. Colonel, 33d 
Va. Infantry. Killed at Gainesville, Va., August 28, 1862. 

NiEMEYER, John Chandler, from Portsmouth, Va. 1st Lieu- 
tenant, Co. I, 9th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 
3, 1863. 

NoRRis, Charles Robert, from Leesburg, Va. Cadet Drillmaster, 
acting captain, 27th Va. Infantry. Killed, First Manassas. 
(See J. S. Moffett above.) 

Oliver, John Mayo, from Mecklenburg County, Va. Captain, 
Oliver's Battery. Mortally wounded at Wytheville, Va., and 
died July 18, 1863. 

Oliver, Yelverton Neal, from Roanoke County, Va. 1st Lieu- 
tenant, "Roanoke Grays," 28th Va. Infantry, afterwards 
Courier in Cavalry. Killed at Fisher's Hill, in the fall of 
1864. (He was exempt from service in the field on account 
of ill health, but insisted on serving.) 

Otey, George Gaston, from Lynchburg, Va. Captain, Otey 
Battery. Died October 21, 1862, from wound received at 

The Virginia Military Institute 4<55 

Lewisburg. (One of five cadet brothers who were distin- 
guished officers in the Confederate Army.) 
Pannill, John Morton, from Patrick County, Va. Enlisted, but 

died November, 1861, before entering the field. Private, 42d 

Va. Infantry. 
Park, William K , from Jackson County, Va. (W. Va.). 

Lieutenant, Engineers. Died May 5, 1865, of disease con- 
tracted in the service. 
Parran, Wm. Sellman, M. D., from Herdy County, Va. (W. Va.). 

Captain and Surgeon, Courtney's Battalion Artillery. Killed 

at Sharpsburg, September 17, 1862. 
Patterson, Reuben Blakey, M. D., from Amherst County, Va. 

Captain and Assistant Surgeon, 5th Va. Infantry. Died 

February 1, 1862, in the military service. 
Patton, Geo. Smith, from Charleston, Va. (W. Va.). Colonel, 

22d Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Winchester, and died 

June 19, 1864. 
Patton, Waller Tazewell, from Culpeper County, Va. Colonel, 

7th Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Gettysburg, July 3, 

1863, and died eighteen days afterwards. (Two of five 
brothers in C. S. A. killed, four of whom being graduates of 
the Institute.) 

*Pearce, Egbert Scott, from Richmond, Va. 1st Lieutenant, and 
commanding Johnson's Battery. Mortally wounded. May 23, 

1864, at Taylorsville, Va., and died next morning. 
Pearson, John Rufus, from Salisbury, N. C. 1st Lieutenant, 7th 

N. C. Infantry. Killed, Frazier's Farm, September 30, 1864. 

Peebles, Hartwell Heath, from Petersburg, Va. 2d Lieutenant, 

Hinton's Co., Deering's Cavalry. Died August , 1864, of 

typhoid fever contracted in the military service. 

Pegram, John Cargill, from Norfolk, Va. Captain and A. A.-G. 
to General Matt. Ranson. Killed June 16, 1864. (Before 

Pembehton, John Richard, from Goochland County, Va. Private, 
4th Va. Cavalry. Killed by deserter he had been sent to ap- 
prehend, who was riding behind him on his horse. 

Pendleton, Edward, from Clarke County, Va. Lieutenant, Co. C, 
nth Va. Infantry. Killed May 6, 1864. (The Wilderness.) 

Pendleton, William Wood, from New Orleans, La. Private, 
Washington Artillery. Died 1870, from the effects of the 
military service. 

Pennybacker, Thos. Jefferson, from Rockingham County, Va. 
Captain, Co. H, 10th Va. Cavalry. Died December 6, 1861, 
from wound received at Flint Hill, Va. 

•The night before he was wounded, he heard of his wife's illness, but 
said, "My duty is here." When his body reached Richmond, the funeral of 
his young wife was taking place there, she having died on the same day amd 
hour with htm. 

456 The Military History of 

Petway, Oliver Cromwell, from Edgecombe County, N. C. Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel, 36th N. C. Infantry. Killed at Malvern Hill, 
July 1, 1862. (In one year, he rose from a cadetship to the 
command of a regiment.) 

Pitts, John Henry, from King William County, Va. Captain of 
a King William company which he raised, but died before he 
could see active service, June 1, 1861. 

Powell, Eichard Harrison, from Tarboro, N. C. Lieutenant, Co. 
G, 3d N. C. Cavalry. Mortally wounded near Dinwiddie 
C. H., and died the following day, April 1, 1866. 

Preston, William Caruthers, from Lexington, Va. Volunteer 
cadet with "Liberty Hall Volunteers," 4th Va. Infantry. 
Mortally wounded. Second Manassas, August 28, 1862, and 
died the next day. (Third son of Col. J. T. L. Preston, 
Professor, V. M. I.) 

Price, George Simpson, from Botetourt County, Va. Private, Co. 
C, 2d Va. Cavalry. Killed at Hartswood Church, Va., Feb- 
ruary 26, 1863. 

Randolph, William Henry, from Augusta County, Va. Captain, 
Co. B, 5th Va. Infantry. Killed at Cold Harbor, June 27, 

Redwood, John Tyler, from Mobile, Ala. Private, Albemarle 
Artillery. Wounded at Cold Harbor, June 27, 1862. Died 
July, 1862. (A younger brother served gallantly in the New 
Market Battalion.) 

Reveley, William Wirt, from Appomattox County, Va. Lieu- 
tenant, Co. C, Lucas's Battalion Artillery from South Carolina. 
Prisoner at time of surrender, and sick. Died October 25, 
1865, from effects of the military service. 

Rhodes, Edward Averett, from Stockton, Cal. 1st Lieutenant, 
11th N. C. Infantry. Killed, with colors in hand, at Gettys- 
burg, July 1, 1863. 

Rice, Thomas Crenshaw, M. D., from Charlotte County, Va. Lieu- 
tenant, 3d Va. Cavalry. Died July 20, 1862, from disease 
contracted in the military service. 

Richardson, John Quincy Adams, from Portsmouth, Va. Major, 
52d N. C. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg. 

RiDDicK, Charles Henry, from Nansemond County, Va. Captain, 
13th Va. Cavalry. Desperately wounded, and died August — , 
1878, from effects of wound. 

Ridley, John David, from Oxford, N. C. 1st Lieutenant of 
Volunteers, later. Courier on Jackson's Staff. He never re- 
covered from the injury to his head by the concussion of a 
bursting shell in battle, and died early in 1865. 

Rodes, Robert Emmet, from Lynchburg, Va. Ma j or-General, 
C. S. A. Killed, Winchester, Va., September 19, 1864. 

The Virginia Military Institute 457 

Rogers, Arthur Lee, from Loudoun County, Va. Major, Artillery. 
Died from effects of wound received at Chancellorsville, 
September 13, 1871. (Designer of flag adopted by Con- 
federate Congress.) 

Rutherford, Robert Henderson, from Cumberland County, Va. 
Private, Co. G, 3d Va. Cavalry. Died in the military service, 
January 18, 1863. 

Scales, James Robert, from Patrick County, Va. Captain, Co. H, 
54(th Va. Infantry. Died November 9, 1866, from disease 
induced by hardships and exposure in the campaign in 
Tennessee, in winter of 1864-6. 

Seaborn, Georoe Andrew, from Sussex County, Va. Private, 13th 
Va. Cavalry. Killed, Dinwiddie C. H., April 8, 1866. 

Selden, William Boswell, from Norfolk, Va. 1st Lieutenant, 
C. S. Engineers. Killed while acting as lieutenant of artillery, 
at Roanoke Island, February 8, 1862. 

Silvester, Keeling, from Norfolk, Va. Private, 16th Va. Cavalry. 
Killed in 1864, defending a Southern woman, while on special 
detail in North Carolina. 

Simpson, Robert Henry, from Warren Coimty, Va. Major, 17th 
Va. Infantry. Lost leg at Drewry's Bluff, and died June 9, 

Slaughter, Edward Mercer, from Rappahannock County, Va. 
Private, 6th Va. Cavalry. Killed November 12, 1864, in the 
Valley of Virginia. 

Smith, Francis Williamson, from Norfolk, Va. Lieutenant- 
Colonel, Artillery. Mortally wounded and died next day, April 
6, 1865, at Amelia Springs, Va. 

Spears, John Walter, from Powhatan County, Va. Private, Co. 
E, 4th Va. Cavalry. Died May 29, 1864, from wound received 
at Spottsylvania C. H., May 8th. 

Speed, Henry Goodridge, from Granville County, N. C. Private, 
1st N. C. Cavalry. Killed, Poplar Spring Church, Va., August 
21, 1864. 

Stanard, Jaqueline Beverley, from Orange County, Va. Private, 
Co. D, Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, May 15, 1864. 

Starke, Edward Butler, from New Orleans, La. (Son of Gen- 
eral W. E. Starke, C. S. A., killed.) Adjutant, 7th Va. Infan- 
try. Mortally wounded at Seven Pines, and died May 31, 1862. 

Stewart, Benjamin F , from Westmoreland County, Va. 

Captain, Co. K, 40th Va. Infantry. Killed, Spottsylvania 
C. H., May 12, 1864. 

Stone, Nolan, from Natchez, Miss. Sergeant, Co. B, 1st Engi- 
neers, Army Northern Virginia. Died January 21, 1867, 
from hardships and exposure of military service. 

Strange, John Bowie, from Fluvanna County, Va. Colonel, 19th 
Va. Infantry. Killed at South Mountain, September 14, 1862, 

458 The Military History of 

after having previously (in the same battle) received two 
wounds. (He was the first cadet posted as a sentinel, Novem- 
ber 11, 1839, at the V. M. I.) 

Stuart, William Dabney, from Staunton, Va. Colonel, 56th Va. 
Infantry. Mortally wounded at Gettysburg, and died three 
weeks afterwards. 

SuDDOTH, Francis Marion, from Fauquier County, Va. Adjutant, 
26th Va. Infantry. Died October 30, 1861, of disease con- 
tracted in the military service. 

Sydnor, Richard Downing Boahdman, from Northumberland 
County, Va. 2d Lieutenant, Co. B, 40th Va. Infantry. From 
three desperate wounds received June 30, 1862, in Seven Days' 
battles near Richmond, he died July 22, 1862. 

Taylor, Robert Craig, from Montgomery County, Va. Private, 
Co. G, 4th Va. Infantry. Killed, Malvern Hill, July 1, 1862. 

Taylor, Thomas Skelton, from Franklin County, Va. Captain, 
Co. D, 24th Va. Infantry. Died October 4, 1861, of typhoid 
fever, contracted in the military service. 

Terry, Charles Wentworth, from Pittsylvania County, Va. 
Sergeant, Co. G, 11th Va. Infantry. Killed, Seven Pines, 
May 31, 1862. 

Thomas, Lewis M., from Christian County, Ky. Captain and Asst. 
Adjutant-General, Staff, General B. H. Helm. Died at 
Corinth, Miss., of typhoid fever. May 19, 1862, due to un- 
healthful condition of the camp at Corinth. 

Thomson, James Walton, from Clarke County, Va. Major, Horse 
Artillery, Army Northern Virginia. Killed April 6, 1865 
(after having been wounded the day before), while leading a 
cavalry charge, on retreat to Appomattox. 

Terrill, James Barbour, from Bath County, Va. Brigadier-Gen- 
eral, Army Northern Virginia. Killed, Bethesda Church, Va., 
May 31, 1864. 

Tomes, Francis Iselin, from Memphis, Tenn. Private, V. M. I. 
Corps Cadets. Died a few months after the War, from ex- 
posure in the military service, with the Battalion of Cadets. 

Tredway, Thomas Booker, from Pittsylvania County, Va. Ser- 
geant, Co. I, 63d Va. Infantry. Mortally wounded at Gettys- 
burg, July 3, 1863. (No further tidings ever received of him.) 

Trout, Erasmus Stribling, from Staunton, Va. Captain, Co. H, 
52d Va. Infantry. Died October 20, 1866, from effects of the 
military service. 

Turner, John Anderson, from Bladen Springs, Ala. 1st Lieu- 
tenant, Robertson's Horse Artillery, attached to 1st La. 
Cavalry, Army of Tennessee. Mortally wounded near Atlanta, 
and died in hospital at Macon, Ga., July 23, 1864. 

Tyler, Samuel, from Richmond, Va. 1st Lieutenant, C. S. Engi- 
neers. Lingering from illness contracted in the military 
service for two years, he died May 8, 1867. 

The Virginia Militaey Institute 459 

UrquharTj Charles Fox, from Southampton County, Va. Major, 
3d Va. Infantry. Killed at Sharpsburg, with colors in hand, 
September 17, 1862. 

Van Epps, George Carroll, from Atlanta, Ga. Private, Co. A, 
19th Tenn. Infantry. Died November 6, 1872, from disease 
contracted in the military service. 

Vaughan, Robert Francis, from Amelia County, Va. Private, 
Co. G, 1st Va. Cavalry. Killed at Winchester, September 19, 

*Waller, John Tyler, from Williamsburg, Va. Private, Mosby's 
Cavalry. Killed March 14, 1865. 

Walthall, James Alexander, from Richmond, Va. 1st Lieu- 
tenant and Adjutant, 13th Va. Infantry. Died from exposure 
soon after his appointment, early in summer of 1861. (He 
was Ord. Sergeant of A Co., in Corps marched to Richmond 
by Jackson, in April, 1861.) 

Ward, John Cabell, from Lynchburg, Va. Captain, Co. E, 11th 
Va. Infantry. Died March 7, 1866, from hardships suffered 
in prison. 

Ward, William Norwood, Jr., from Richmond County, Va. 
Captain, 47th Va. Infantry. Died August 29, 1862, from 
wound received at Gaines's Mill. 

Warwick, Barksdale, from Richmond, Va. 1st Lieutenant and 
Aide-de-Camp to General H. A. Wise. Killed March 29, 1866, 
on retreat to Appomattox. 

Watkins, William Edward, from Halifax County, Va. Ord. 
Sergeant, Albright's Battery. Died a few months after the 
War, of disease contracted in the military service. 

Watson, William E., from Loudoun County, Va. C. S. A. (com- 
mand unknown). Captured at Gettysburg, and died at John- 
son's Island, 1863. 

Wheatley, Mandly Taylor, from Warren County, Va. Major, 
49th Va. Infantry. Died of typhoid fever contracted in the 
military service, December — , 1861. 

Wheelwright, Joseph Christopher, from Westmoreland Coimty, 
Va. Private, Co. C, Corps Cadets. Killed at New Market, 
May 16, 1864. 

Williams, Benjamin Watkins, from Danville, Va. Private (com- 
mand unknown). Died of disease contracted in the military 
service, , 1863. 

♦Grandson of Ex-President Tyler. He was killed by a squad of Federals 
who surrounded lilm after his little horse could go no farther. The oflScer In 
command reported his death at a neighboring farm-house, and added, "Let 
him be burled honorably, for he was the bravest rebel we ever fought." He 
was buried at Williamsburg, his epitaph having been chosen by himself several 
months before — the simple Latin motto, "Dulce et decorum est pro patria 

When It was thought he would probably die, from a desperate wound re- 
ceived previously at the battle of Williamsburg, he said, — "If I die, it will be 
in defense of Mamma's grave from the footsteps of the enemy." The Legislature 
of Virginia is said to have recorded this touching incident in its .Toumal. 

460 The Military History of 

Williams, Lewis Burwell, from Orange County, Va. Colonel, 1st 
Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 1863, while com- 
manding his brigade. 

Williamson, Joseph Lewis, from Sussex County, Va. Private, Co. 
H, 13th Va. Cavalry. Died May 20, 1864, from wound re- 
ceived at Spottsylvania. 

Wilson, Nathaniel Claiborne, from Botetourt County, Va. 
Major, 28th Va. Infantry. Killed at Gettysburg, July 3, 

1863, exclaiming: "TeU my mother I died a true soldier and 
I hope a true Christian." 

WoRSHAM, Patrick Henry, from Dinwiddle County, Va. Ser- 
geant-Major, 3d Va. Cavalry. Died June 5, 1862, of camp 

Wright, Charles Thomas, from Wilmington, N. C. Sergeant- 
Major, 37th N. C. Infantry. Died May 26, 1864, from wound 
received at the Wilderness, nineteen days before. 

Wilcox, James Westmore, from Charles City County, Va. Ser- 
geant, Co. D, 3d Va. Cavalry. Mortally wounded June 11, 

1864, at Trevelians, and died within a few hours. 

Summary as to Rank 

Major-General 1 

Brigadier-Generals 2 

Colonels 26 

Lieutenant-Colonels 11 

Majors 16 

Captains 44 

Lieutenants (of whom eight were Adjutants) 58 

Color-Sergeant 1 

Orderly-Sergeants 2 

Sergeant-Majors 4 

Other non-commissioned officers 10 

Privates 67 

Of unknown rank 7 

Total 249 

The Virginia Military Institute 461 

Total number of matriculates from founding of the 

Virginia Military Institute to 1865 2,013 

Less — died before 1861 111 


In Federal Army 16 

Physically disabled from military service 14 

•Clergymen not in Army 11 

Living in enemy's territory (though not in either army) 39 
Excused from conscription, as physicians, millers, civil 

service officials and employees, and teachers 22 

Unaccounted for 20 121 

Total graduates and Sieves in C. S. A 1,781 

(Or nearly 94 per cent, of all living ex-cadets !) 

Killed or died in the military service of C. S. A., during the 
War, fourteen (14) per cent, of all Alumni living in 1861 (except 
121 accounted for above. ) 

[One-third of the total niunber in the Union Army were killed.] 

•Some V. M. I. Alumni who were clergymen were In the Confederate Army. 

462 The Military History of 




Cadet James B. Dorman, Dept. Languages, 1842-3. 
Cadet William J. Warden, Dept. Languages, 1842-3. 
Cadet J. W. Wildman, Dept. Mathematics, 1842-3. 
Cadet J. C. Wills, Dept. Mathematics, 1842-3. 
Lieut. W. A. Forbes, Dept. Mathematics, 1844-5-6-7. 
Lieut. W. H. Richardson, Jr., Dept. Tactics, 1844-5-6-7. 
Cadet T. B. Robertson, Dept. Mathematics, 1844-5. 
Cadet W. M. Nelson, Dept. Languages, 1844-5. 
Lieut. T. B. Robertson, Dept. Tactics, 1845-6. 
Lieut. R. E. Colston, Dept. French, 1845-6-7-8-9. 
Lieut. J. Q. Marr, Dept. Mathematics, 1847-8. 
Cadet S. T. Pendleton, Dept. Mathematics, 1847-8. 
Cadet J. C. Coimcill, Dept. Mathematics, 1847-8. 
Cadet J. P. Beale, Dept. Languages, 1847-8. 
Lieut. R. E. Rodes, Dept. Physical Sciences and Tactics, 

Cadet John Lawson, Dept. Mathematics, 1848-9. 

Cadet J. W. Massie, Dept. Mathematics, 1848-9. 

Cadet Samuel Garland, Dept. Languages, 1848-9. 

Cadet Robert Gatewood, Dept. Languages, 1848-9. 

Cadet W. W. Gordon, Dept. Mathematics, 1848-9-50. 

Lieut. J. W. Massie, Dept. Mathematics, 1849-60. 

Cadet Charles Denby, Dept. Languages, 1849-60. 

Cadet C. H. Harrison, Dept. Latin, 1849-60. 

Capt. J. W. Massie, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1850-1. 

Cadet Joseph Mayo, Dept. Mathematics, 1850-1-2. 

Cadet F. S. Bass, Dept. Languages, 1850-1. 

Cadet Thomas A. Harris, Dept. Languages, 1850-1. 

Capt. R. E. Colston, Dept. Languages, 1849-50-51. 

Lieut. W. D. Stuart, Dept. Mathematics, 1851-2. 

Cadet Geo. S. Patton, Dept. Languages, 1851-2. 

Cadet W. Silvester, Dept. Languages, 1851-2. 

Capt. J. W. Allen, Dept. Mathematics, 1863-4. 

Lieut. Daniel Trueheart, Dept. Mathematics, 1853-4. 

Lieut. Henry A. Whiting, Dept. Languages and Tactics, 1853-4. 

Cadet W. T. Patton, Dept. Languages and Tactics, 1853-4-6. 

Capt. J. G. Gamble, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1854-5. 

Cadet Stapleton Crutchfield, Dept. Mathematics, 1854-5. 

The Virginia Military Institute 463 

Lieut. G. H. Smith, Dept. Languages and Tactics, 1854-6. 

Lieut. Stapleton Crutchfield, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 

Capt. L. B. Williams, Dept. Mathematics, 1856-6-7-8. 

Cadet F. W. Smith, Dept. Mathematics, 1866-6. 

Lieut. W. T. Patton, Dept. Languages and Tactics, 1855-6-7. 

Cadet W. B. Selden, Dept. Languages and Tactics, 1865-6. 

Lieut. P. B. Stanard, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1856-7. 

Lieut. E. V. Bargamin, Dept. French, 1856-7-8. 

Capt. Stapleton Crutchfield, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 

Lieut. J. H. Lane, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1857-8. 

Lieut. P. P. Slaughter, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1857-8. 

Lieut. Geo. M. Edgar, Dept. Chemistry and Tactics, 1857-8. 

Lieut. R. M. Mayo, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1858-9. 

Capt. M. B. Hardin, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1858-9-60-61. 

Lieut. B. F. Stewart, Dept. French and Tactics, 1868-9. 

Lieut. John McCausland, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1859- 

Lieut. J. H. Chenoweth, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1869-60. 

Lieut. W. A. Smith, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1861-2. 

Lieut. Daniel Trueheart, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 

Lieut. W. H. Otey, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1859-60. 

Lieut. Scott Shipp, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1859-60-61. 

Lieut. W. H. Morgan, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1860-1. 

Lieut. O. C. Henderson, Dept. Frenth alid Tactics, 1869-60. 

Lieut. J. D. H. Ross, Dept. French and Tactics, 1860-1.. 

Lieut. H. A. Wise, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1862-3-4. 

Lieut. T. B. Robinson, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1862-3-4. 

Lieut. L. Crittenden, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1861-2. 

Lieut. J. G- Miller, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1862-3-4. 

Lieut. A. S. Scott, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1862-3. 

Lieut. Frank Preston, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1862-3-4. 

Lieut. A. G. Hill, Dept. French and Tactics, 1862-8-4. 

Capt. H. A. Wise, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1864-6. 

Capt. T. B. Robinson, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1864-5. 

Capt. A. G. Hill, Dept. French and Tactics, 1864-5. 

Capt. Frank Preston, Dept. Latin and Tactics, 1864-5. 

Lieut. R. A. Crawford, Dept. French and Tactics, 1863-4. 

Lieut. J. E. Roller, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1863-4. 

Lieut. J. B. Prince, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1863-4. 

Lieut. E. D. Yancey, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1863-4. 

Lieut. C. Y. Steptoe, Dept. Mathematics and Tactics, 1864-5. 

464 The Military History of 





A Bill for the Relief of the Virginia Military Institute, 
OF Lexington, Va. 


United States Senate 

Nathan P. Beyan, Florida, Ohavrman 

Lee S. Oveeman, North Carolina Coe I. Cbawfoed, South Dakota 

Key Pittman, Nevada Joseph L. Beistow, Kansas 

Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas William 0. Beadley, Kentucky 

Ollie M. James, Kentucky Edwin C. Bubleigh, Maine 

Chables F. Johnson, Maine Nathan Goff, West Virginia 

Thomas S. Maetin, Virginia Geobge W. Noeeis, Nebraska 
Harby Lane, Oregon 

W. T. Bauskett, Clerk 


Saturday, February 7, 1914 

Committee on Claims, 

United States Senate, 

Washington, D. C. 

The committee met at 10:30 o'clock a. m., pursuant to the call of 
the chairman. 

Present: Senators Nathan P. Bryan (chairman), Martin, John- 
son, Bradley, James, Pittman, Overman, Norris, and Burleigh. 

The Chairman. Senator du Pont, we are met this morning to 
hear you on your bill. Senate 644, which is as follows: 

[S. 544, Sixty-third Congress, first session] 

A BILL — For the relief of the Virginia Military Institute, 
of Lexington, Virginia. 

Be it enacted hy the Senate a/nd House of Representatives of the United 
States of America in Congress assembled, That the Secretary of the 
Treasury be, and he is hereby, authorized and directed to pay to the 
Virginia Military Institute, of Lexington, Virginia, out of any money in 

The Virginia Military Institute 465 

the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, the sum of $214,723,62, in full 
of all claims of said Institute for the damage and destruction of its library, 
scientific apparatus, and the quarters of its professors in June, eighteen 
hundred and sixty-four, by the military authority of the United States. 
And the acceptance of the said sum by the said Institute shall be a com- 
plete and absolute bar to any and all claims for the damage and destruction 
of the property of said Institute by the armies of the United States. 

The committee will be very glad to hear any statements you have 
to make in connection with it. 

Statement of Senator H. A. du Pont, of Delaware 

Senator du Pont. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, the history of 
my connection with the bill under consideration is this : I was Chief 
of Artillery of Gen. Hunter's command, which was operating in the 
valley and took possession of Lexington on the 11th of June, 1864. 
Gen. Nichols, the Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute, 
knowing this, came to see me and made some inquiries about the 
destruction of the property of the Institute at that time. Most of 
the buildings, with one exception, I think, were entirely burned 
down and destroyed by order of Gen. Hunter. I told Gen. Nichols 
that at the time I was very much opposed to the destruction of the 
Institute buildings, as I thought it was a wholly unnecessary de- 
struction of private property and not justified by the rules of war, 
excepting so far as the destruction of the cadet barracks was con- 
cerned, which I thought was proper, and that this opinion was gen- 
erally concurred in by all the oflScers with whom I came in contact. 
I remember, among others, that the late President McKinley, who 
was there, being one of the staff oflBcers, expressed the same views, 
and that he and Capt. Prendergast, who was afterwards killed, and 
other officers, assisted me in carrying out furniture from some of 
the houses occupied by ladies, which were burned down, thereby 
saving it from destruction. We carried it out with our own hands. 

After hearing what I had to say. Gen. Nichols asked me if I 
would introduce a bill for the relief of the Institute and mentioned 
that there was a precedent for such action in the case of the William 
and Mary College, for which there had been an appropriation made 
as compensation for damages sustained during the war. I told him 
that I was always ready to cooperate in any measure of right and 
justice, but that it struck me that the Virginia Senators were the 
proper people to introduce such a bill, and that I could not do so 
unless I conferred with them. After talking to them, they told me 
that they preferred that I should introduce the bill, as I had been 
present and had a personal knowledge of what had transpired, and, 
for this reason, they thought it was more appropriate that I should 
present it. 

Under those circumstances I introduced the bill. I am not 
responsible for the amounts of the loss sustained by the Institute. 

466 The Military History of 

Those were given to me by Gen. Nichols, and I assumed them to be 
correct. He went over them with a great deal of care and showed 
me an itemized list, and I put the amount he gave in the bill. 

Perhaps, in order that the committee may clearly understand the 
whole situation, it would be well to make a brief statement of the 
military operations carried on around the Institute. Gen. Hunter 
was moving down the valley with two divisions of troops, one of 
infantry and the other of cavalry. We left Winchester and moved 
south, with opposition of a trivial character, until we came to Mount 
Jackson, where Gen. Jones, who commanded the Confederate troops, 
was awaiting us in a strongly intrenched position. Instead of at- 
tacliing that position, we made a flank movement to the left, crossed 
the James River at Port Republic, and then moved toward the vil- 
lage of Piedmont. Gen. Jones, ascertaining this, abandoned his 
position and met us at Piedmont where we fought a battle in which 
we came off victorious. That was on the 5th of June. 

The Chairman. How far is Piedmont from Lexington? 

Senator du Pont. I am not aware of the distance. It is a day's 
march from Staunton to Lexington. I suppose it must be something 
like 40 miles. 

Gen. Nichols. They say it is 36 miles from Staunton to 

Senator du Pont. I think probably from Piedmont to Staunton 
must be 15 or 20 miles, and from Piedmont to Lexington must be at 
least 50 miles. 

At Staunton we waited several days for the commands of' Gen. 
Crook and Gen. Averell to join us there. They gave us four divi- 
sions of troops, two of infantry and two of cavalry, and we resumed 
our march southward. Our force was very much larger than any 
that the Confederates could bring against us, but they resisted our 
advance at various places by small detachments, more for the pur- 
pose of observation than with the idea of giving us battle. Finally 
we arrived, on the 11th of June, opposite Lexington, on the other 
side of the river, which I think they called the North Fork of the 

Senator Martin. North River. 

Senator du Pont. There we found some troops in occupation of 
the buildings. Directly opposite us the nearest building, as I recall 
it, was the cadet barracks. 

Senator Johnson. The buildings of the Institute? 

Senator du Pont. Yes. Some of the enemy in that building 
were firing from the windows at our skirmishers, and finally they 
fired a cannon. Then Gen. Hunter ordered me to send a battery to 
reply. I sent the regular battery, which fired six shots, with delib- 
eration, at the cadet building. 

The Chairman. The Institute barracks? 

The Virginia Military Institute 467 

Senator du Pont. Yes ; I meant to say barracks. After firing 
six shots we received an order to discontinue firing, because, as I 
understood it, the enemy had evacuated the town of Lexington. 

We crossed over and took possession and remained there the fol- 
lowing day, the 12th, and I am not very clear whether we moved 
away on the 13th or 14th. I do not think we left until the 14th. 

The Chairman. What about the destruction of these buildings, 
Senator ? 

Senator du Pont. I am just coming to that, Mr. Chairman. 
Gen. Hunter, thereupon, the next day, issued various orders. One 
was that all the buildings of the Institute were to be burned to the 
ground. Another directed me, as Chief of Artillery, to destroy — a 
most ridiculous thing — some old trophies that were there, one or 
two old French guns, among others, and all entirely useless. 

The Chairman. Before you get to that, Senator, what damage, 
if any, was done to the buildings of the Virginia Military Institute 
when you fired on the barracks and when resistance was being made 
at the barracks? What damage, if any, was done to the buildings 
of the Institute? 

Senator du Pont. Some of our shots went through the building, 
but I did not ascertain personally what the damage was. 

The Chairman. You went over there the next day? 

Senator du Pont. I did not examine particularly, but I saw 
that the shots had passed through the building, and I have heard 
since that they did considerable damage. 

The Chairman. Through the barracks? 

Senator du Pont. Through the barracks. 

Senator Bradley. I just heard an expression as I came in here, 
made by you, with regard to your thinking that there was no good 
reason to destroy these buildings, except some portion of them? 

Senator du Pont. Except the cadet barracks. 

Senator Bradley. Are the barracks included in this item? 

Senator du Pont. No; they are not. I particularly excepted 
them when I introduced the bill. 

The order to destroy the buildings was given.. The buildings con- 
sisted of a library, philosophical and scientific apparatus, the pro- 
fessors' houses, and various minor structures. 

My opinion was that the barracks should be destroyed under the 
laws of war for the reason that the cadets who occupied those bar- 
racks were in the field and had met us at the Battle of New Market 
and that they were the quarters of a hostile force, even though com- 
posed of boys; but I saw no reason why the buildings of the 
Institute devoted to educational purposes should be burned down. 
That was the general opinion of everybody there except Gen. 
Hunter. I know that that was the late President McKinley's 

468 The Military History of 

The Chairman. When the other buildings were destroyed, these 
buildings besides the barracks, there was no armed resistance to the 
Army of the United States, was there? 

Senator du Pont. No. From the time we occupied the town 
every one had disappeared. 

The Chairman. In what way were the buildings destroyed? 

Senator du Pont. They were set on fire and burned down. 
They were all wooden buildings except the barracks, which was of 
stone. I think that was the more permanent building. The others 
were mostly wooden buildings. 

Senator Martin. There may have been some brick buildings ? 

Senator du Pont. There may have been some brick buildings. 

Senator Johnson. Were you fired upon from the barracks? 

Senator du Pont. A few shots; that is to say, our troops were 
fired upon. We were fired upon not only from the barracks, but 
from the open. As we moved south our advance was resisted, as I 
said before, more for the purpose of observation than of giving 
battle. It was not at Lexington alone, but wherever there was a 
good place from which the Confederates could make a slight re- 
sistance, they did it — which was proper and right. It was according 
to the laws of war, and our side would have done the same thing. 

Senator Johnson. You destroyed the garrison of a hostile force, 
if the barracks in question could be understood to be such? 

Senator du Pont. I do not quite understand your question. 

Senator Johnson. I say, you destroyed the garrison of a hostile 
force ? 

Senator du Pont. The barracks ; yes. 

Senator Johnson. Was not this military institute furnishing 
troops for the field against you? 

Senator du Pont. They were in the field at the Battle of New 

Senator Johnson. Were the cadets in the firing party? 

Senator du Pont. I do not know. I only know there were some 
shots fired, but I do not know who the parties were who fired them. 
As I understand it, the Battalion of Cadets were not really a part 
of the Confederate forces in the field. They were there under 
instruction, but when we advanced into their territory they were 
turned out to defend the immediate neighborhood, or to assist in 
defending it. 

Senator James. You say there was no necessity for destroying 
the property at all? 

Senator du Pont. I do not think so. That was my judgment 
then, and it is my judgment now. It did no good. The moment 
we destroyed the barracks there was no place for the cadets to live, 
unless they went into tents. They could live in tents anywhere. 

Senator Bradley. Did you see anything of Senator Martin 
among those cadets ? 

The Virginia Military Institute 469 

Senator du Pont. I did not. Strange to say, the only cadet of 
the Virginia Military Institute that I have ever seen in uniform, 
although I had been in battle against them, was a young man who 
came to West Point when I was there wearing his military uniform. 
I think he was the adjutant of the Virginia Military Institute. He 
attracted a good deal of attention. 

The Chairman. If Senator Martin was there he was out of 
sight when you got across the river? 

Senator du Pont. I did not see him. 

Senator Martin. I was not at all anxious to be conspicuous 
against men like Senator du Pont. 

Senator Norris. I would like to ask the Senator a question. 
I wish to get clear in my mind the distinguishing feature between 
the barracks and this Institution and any other building connected 
with it, whether or not it was a professor's house or a building 
where the students recited or where the professors instructed 
the cadets. I want to get in my mind what your idea of the 
di£ference is. 

Senator du Pont. I will try to answer the question. I knew 
something about the general scope of the Institute, because it so 
happened that the former superintendent was a classmate and an 
old friend of my father's. I had seen him when I was a child at my 
home in Delaware several times. I had heard my father speak of 
the Institute and knew about its general purpose. It was a military 
school only so far as the instruction and discipline of the pupils 
were concerned. Its purpose, as I understood it, was to educate 
teachers for the State of Virginia. A certain number of boys were 
given a free education there in consideration of their teaching for a 
certain term of years within the State of Virginia. It was not the 
only institution of the kind in the country; there were numbers of 
them in the United States- — ^several in New England. There was 
one near Philadelphia as long ago as 1807 or 1808, conducted by a 
man named Roumfort. In those days, you know, there were no 
athletics, and a great many people thought that the military exer- 
cises improved the boys physically and served to keep them out of 
mischief. That was the idea of all these schools. It was not for 
the purpose of educating the pupils to fight. We never thought of 
such a thing when I was a child. 

Senator Norris. In that connection, then, your idea is that it 
was at least nothing like West Point or Annapolis ? 

Senator du Pont. Not at all; totally different. 

Senator Norris. Was it owned by the State of Virginia.'' 

Senator du Pont. I believe it was under the patronage of the 
State of Virginia, and encouraged by it. I do not know the exact 
relations. I know the State of Virginia had certain authority, and 
I think they did something for them financially. My impression 
is — Gen. Nichols can correct me if I am in error — ^that the most of 

470 The Military History of 

the students paid their way as in any other school, but there was a 
certain number of pupils that the State of Virginia paid for in 
consideration of their teaching. 

Senator Martin. The State owns it, and, under the law, it is 
permitted to receive donations ; and I suppose there are certain 
endowments contributed by private people for this purpose of ad- 
vancing the cause of education. 

Senator Norris. I judged from the bill that this appropriation 
is requested for a private school. 

The Chairman. It is a corporation under the laws of Virginia. 

Senator Martin. The money would go to this Institution. 

Senator Norris. It would go to the State of Virginia. 

Senator Johnson. The State of Virginia owns the buildings 

Senator Martin. Gen. Nichols, when he comes before the com- 
mittee, will explain that. My understanding is that it is still owned 
in a sense by the State of Virginia, but it is created by law, with 
certain rights and privileges for the purpose of advancing the cause 
of education, and donations are constantly made to its library, to 
its scientific apparatus, and to its several departments. 

Senator Johnson. The State makes appropriations also.'' 

Senator Martin. The State makes some appropriations ; for 
instance, as Senator du Pont has explained, with reference to paying 
the expenses of certain pupils with the understanding that they 
shall serve the State as teachers for a certain term. 

Senator du Pont. And they are required to do so? 

Senator Martin. Yes. 

Senator du Pont. Will you allow me to supplement my state- 
ment, Mr. Chairman? I have some definite information now. 
I stated that we arrived in Lexington, that is, the Union forces, on 
the 11th of June, 1864. The buildings were burned on the 12th of 
June, 1864, the next day. We stayed there two days, as I thought. 
We moved toward Buchanan on the 14th. I have sent for Gen. 
Hunter's report. 

The Chairman. Senator, is there any other statement you care 
to make? 

Senator Swanson. Do you recall whether there was a protest 
by you or any other officer against the burning of the buildings at 
the time? 

Senator du Pont. There was no protest, except the expression 
of opinion among ourselves. 

Senator Bradley. You did not dare to make a protest, did you ? 

Senator du Pont. It would be a very unmilitary thing to do. 
A soldier has to obey orders. He has a perfect right, however, to- 
have his own opinion. 

Senator Bradley. But not to express it, perhaps, to the general .^ 

The Virginia Military Institute 471 

Senator du Pont. He has a right to express his opinion in t 
proper way to his comrades. 

Senator Overman. Did you burn those buildings? 

Senator du Pont. No, sir; they were burned by order of Gen 

Senator James. What was the general's idea in burning thos( 

Senator du Pont. The general was a very peculiar man. Hii 
father was a Virginian. [Laughter.] That did not make him i 
peculiar man. But, if you will allow me to finish my sentence, hi; 
mother was from Princeton, N. J.; his father was a clergyman. ; 
do not think he was in pleasant relations with his Southern rela 
tives, of which there were a great number. He had a most extra 
ordinary idea of how to put an end to armed resistance. 

Senator Martin. To put an end to the rebellion? 

Senator du Pont. Yes, sir. 

Senator Martin. I am not sensitive about that. 

Senator du Pont. Call it rebellion, then, or anything yot 
please. He was a man of very strong prejudices, exceedingli 
strong, and he began operations by burning his cousin's house a 
Charles Town. Why he did that I can not imagine. When we wen 
operating in the valley, which, as you know, is between two chain; 
of mountains, a valley from IS to 30 miles wide, the mountains wen 
occupied by Mosby's guerrillas, whose business it was to try t( 
intercept our trains as they moved down. They had to be escortet 
by convoys, and if they thought the convoy were rather weak, thei 
would swoop down upon them and sometimes succeed in capturing 
the train. 

Gen. Hunter's idea was — and you could not get it out of hii 
head — that the people who were doing this resided in the town; 
nearby, and that the way to stop the practice was to burn down th( 
towns near the points where our trains were attacked. The trutl 
was that Mosby's command consisted of picked men from all ove: 
the South, and I do not suppose that 10 per cent of them lived ii 
the valley there. I recollect that Gen. Hunter sent a body o: 
cavalry to burn Newtown, a large village, on the ground that ; 
train had been attacked within a short distance of the place. Thi 
officer in command, having been moved by the tears and lamenta 
tions of the women and children, did not carry out his instructions 
and Gen. Hunter ordered him to be dismissed from the service 
The burning of private houses always seemed to strongly appea 
to him. 

Upon our retreat from Lynchburg, across the mountains to th( 
Kanawha Valley, 100 miles away from any scene of military opera 
tions, we arrived at the White Sulphur Springs. We had beei 
pursued by the Confederates but the enemy had ceased his pursui 
and we stopped there one day to rest, as we were very mucl 

472 The Military History of 

I heard that the general had ordered the place to be burned down. 
The buildings comprised an immense hotel with rows of cottages in 
every direction, and could accommodate several thousand people. 
Going to headquarters about noon, after a few remarks, I said to the 
general: "I hear you have ordered these buildings to be burned 
down?" He said: "Yes; they are all to be burned." Although I 
believed this to be a wanton and criminal destruction of private 
property, knowing the man as I did I thought it was useless to 
appeal to him on any such grounds, so I said, very quietly: "Gen- 
eral, do you not think that it would be a military mistake?" He 
said: "What do you mean?" "I mean this," I said: "If hereafter 
we have to occupy this country this is quite a strategic point, as a 
good many roads converge here, and we would find quarters for a 
brigade of cavalry all ready, which would have many advantages 
for us." He looked at me a minute and said: "Well, I had not 
thought of that," and then called his adjutant-general and told him 
to cancel the order. 

That is the way in which the buildings at the White Sulphur 
Springs were saved; and that is the kind of man Gen. Hunter was. 
He was absolutely unreasonable. 

The Chairman. Is there anything further. Senator? 

Senator du Pont. I will make one statement, which I omitted. 
Gen. Hunter excepted the house of the Superintendent of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute on the ground that there was sickness in the 
family. He said that at Mrs. Smith's house there was illness and 
that her house was not to be burned. He excepted that. 

Statement of Gen. E. W. Nichols, Superintendent of the 
Virginia Military Institute 

The Chairman. General, will you kindly ,give your name to the 
stenographer ? 

Gen. Nichols. Geii. E. W. Nichols, Superintendent of the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute. 

The Chairman. How long have you been connected with the 
Virginia Military Institute. 

Gen. Nichols. This is my fortieth year. 

The Chairman. We shall be glad to hear any statement you 
may care to make. 

Gen. Nichols. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, 
there was a bill introduced at the last session of Congress which was 
not considered by the Claims Committee. That legislation was 
recommended to the present Congress. The brief giving all the 
facts is now in the possession of the committee. 

I should like to add these telegrams to the record in the case. 

This is a telegram from Col. J. M. Schoonmaker, who destroyed 
the property under orders of Gen. Hunter and destroyed it under 

The Virginia Military Institute 473 

protest. I had hoped to have him here to appear before the com- 
mittee, but unfortunately he made his arrangements to go South. 
He has promised that he will appear at any time that will suit the 
convenience of the committee on his return. He will, however, 
present a statement in writing. 
T telegraphed him as follows: 

Washington, D. C, February 5, 1914. 
Col. J. M. Schoonmakeb, 

Ellsworth and Morewood Avenues, Pittsburgh, Pa. 
Senate Claims Committee is having hearings on Senator du Pont's 
bill to reimburse Virginia Military Institute for destruction of library, 
scientific apparatus, and academic buildings by order of Gen. Hunter 
during Civil War. Du Pont suggests that I ask whether you could appear 
before committee Saturday 10 a. m. If not then, could you come later? 
Answer Ebbitt House, Washington. 

B. W. Nichols, 

His reply is as follows: 

PiTTSBUEOH, Pa., February 6, 1914. 
E. W. Nichols, 

Ebbitt House, Washington, D. C. 
Answering your wire even date, I regret advising my inability to ap- 
pear before committee Saturday, having arranged to leave to-morrow on 
Southern trip to be absent balance of month. Any time, however, in 
future, after my return, that I can be of service to you in direction 
indicated, will gladly do so. 


The original telegram and the reply, Mr. Chairman, I would like 
to file with the committee, as also my telegram of February 5th to 
Senator Culberson, and his reply thereto of February 6th. I will 
read them. 

Febeuabt 5, 1914. 
Senatob Charles A. Cdlbeeson, 
San Antonio, Texas. 
Hearing on Senator du Pont's bill to reimburse Virginia Military 
Institute for losses sustained by burning during Civil War. As a graduate 
of Institution I wish to appeal to you to wire me, my expense, Ebbitt 
Hotel, Washington, strong statement in support of bill and record of 
Institution to be read to committee Saturday, February 7th, 10 a. m. 
Friends of Institute active. Gen. Wood, United States Army, will appear 
before committee in support of bill. Your support will greatly help 
Senator Bryan, chairman of committee. 

Have been distressed by your sickness, and earnestly hope for your 
restoration to health. 

B. W. Nichols, 


San Antonio, Texas, February 6, 1914. 
Gen. B. W. Nichols, 

Ebbitt House, Washington, D. C. 
Your telegram is received, and I am gratified that efforts are being 
made to pass the du Pont bill without reference to any legal questions 

474 The Military History of 

which may be involved in the bill. Its passage would be a generous and 
praiseworthy act to reimburse the Institute for its great loss by fire during 
the Civil War at the hands of the Federal forces. The school is one of the 
finest in the country, ranked only by West Point, and, as war is not waged 
against institutions of learning, this reimbursement for property destroyed 
in the great conflict will be another indication that only the heroism and 
sacrifices of the two sections of the Union ought to be perpetuated. 

C. A. CtriBEBSON. 

Mr. Chairman, there are, briefly, only two points from a stand- 
point of equity and law on which this claim for restitution is based. 
The first is the destruction of educational property in accordance 
with the usages of civilized warfare. Second, in the destruction of 
this property, from an educational point of view, with its educa- 
tional facilities, its library, its professors' quarters, its scientific 
apparatus, its chemical laboratories, its mineralogical cabinets, its 
geological cabinets, and the various paraphernalia incident to edu- 
cational institutions, was not such destruction in direct conflict with 
President Lincoln's orders to his commanders in the field? 

I think both of those statements can be substantiated as being 
in conflict both with the usages of civilized warfare and in direct 
conflict with the orders of President Lincoln. 

Senator Johnson. General, are you familiar with the work of 
the Institution during the war.'' 

Gen. Nichols. Entirely; yes, sir. 

Senator Johnson. You were not then connected with it.'' 

Gen. Nichols. No, sir; I was born in 1858. 

Senator Johnson. Was its work then the same as that pursued 
afterwards ? 

Gen. Nichols. The educational work was continued throughout. 

Senator Johnson. Was it not in fitting young men to take the 
field, and particularly giving military instruction? 

Gen. Nichols. In part, and in large part. 

Senator Johnson. Was not that its chief purpose? 

Gen. Nichols. No; I would not say it was its chief purpose. 
It was an educational institution, and was founded as an educa- 
tional institution; but at that time it was a military institution, 
called "the West Point of the South," to which hundreds of young 
raen from the South came. It turned out hundreds of young men 
who went into the service of the Confederate Army. It was engaged 
as an organization and called out on several occasions to repel riots. 
On one occasion it took an active part in the operations against 
Federal forces, and in one operation, of 250 men, 20 per cent of 
their number were killed or wounded. It was not the intention of 
Gen. Breckinridge to put this body of boys in that battle. They 
were put in the third lines, but having the hot heads of youth, they 
could not be kept there, and got into the front line and lost heavily. 

Putting that military feature apart, Mr. Chairman and gentlemen 
of the committee, I would like to say that I am not here for the 

The Virginia Military Institute 475 

Institution in any light except as an applicant for restitution as an 
educational institution. That military feature of it is something 
absolutely aside. I would be recreant to every better feeling of my 
nature, recreant to every tradition of that Institution, if I did not 
say, sir, that so far as the fighting was concerned, we are glad we 
did fight and sorry that we were not more successful. But I want 
to say that there is not an institution in this land that would more 
quickly and more gladly furnish men to the common country and 
for the common flag than this Institution which I represent. But 
that is all aside, sir. It is a question of the educational features 
of the Institution. 

The Chairman. Let me ask you this question before you go 
further: Did the Institution continue to instruct its classes during 
the war? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir; continuously. 

The Chairman. It was in operation, then, at the time of its 
destruction; it had classes? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir; at the Battle of New Market, which 
occurred on the 15th of May, the young men were sent from that 
battle to Richmond, and they were ordered back to Lexington to 
resume their academic work, reaching Lexington about the 10th of 
June, or just a day or two before the Federal forces attacked the 

The Chairman. Did that constitute the entire student body ? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir ; the entire student body. 

Senator Norris. What year was that? 

Gen. Nichols. 1864. 

The Chairman. Until 1864, then, these students had not been 
sent out, as a body, into the Army? 

Gen. Nichols. No, sir ; they had been called on from time to 
time to go out and repel riots. They went to Covington on one 
occasion, but they were never in conflict with any body of troops 
except on that occasion. They were called again in the winter of 
1865 to Richmond. There were educational facilities going on then 
and being taught there. 

It is interesting to note that they were the only body of troops 
between Richmond and the Federal forces on the 3d of April. The 
forces, of course, did not know it, but they were in pits outside the 
city, and they were called in and disbanded in Richmond and they 
went to their homes. The Institution resumed its operations again 
in the fall. 

There is another point of view, Mr. Chairman, with reference to 
this service of the Institution, and I would like to emphasize that 
point — the service of the Institution, past and present. 

The Institution was founded as an educational institution in 
1839, and in the Mexican War, in 1846, that Institution had 14 

476 The Military History of 

officers in the United States service. It had more officers in the 
United States service in that war than all other institutions of a 
military character in the United States combined, West Point, of 
course, excepted. 

In the War between the States, whilst there was, of course, a 
larger number of these men in the Confederate Army as officers — 
major-generals, brigadier-generals, colonels, etc. — ^there were some 
of them that were officers in the Federal Army. Since the war the 
Institution has had, and has now, more officers in the United States 
Army as commissioned officers than all other civil institutions with 
a military feature attached in the United States combined, except, 
of course. West Point. 

It had more officers in the Spanish-American War than all other 
military institutions in the United States combined — military insti- 
tutions or civil-mUitary institutions. This information I get from 
the Chief of Staff of the Army. To-day the Institute is furnishing, 
as it has during the past several years, more men to the National 
Guard throughout the country than all other institutions of the 
country combined. The Institute is not a local institution. It has 
40 states represented and 5 foreign countries. The number of 
applicants is largely in excess of its ability to accommodate. 

Last year it had the distinction of graduating a man who took 
the Jackson-Hope medal, a medal combining military and civil 
qualifications. This was taken by a young man from Yonkers, N. Y. 
The second man in the class of last year was a man from Iowa. He 
received the alternative appointment from the Institute to the 
United States Army. He did not receive the direct appointment, 
but he is now an officer in the service of the United States in its 
Marine Corps. We have young men from Massachusetts, California, 
from all the border states on the north, and from the Western 
States. In other words, 40 states of the 48 that constitute the Union 
were represented there last year. 

Those young men are going out into the National Guard of the 
country; and I want to say this, that there is a movement here in 
the War Department, one in which all of us are interested, to form 
a reserve corps in case of this country's need, either for aggressive 
or defensive operations. I am perfectly sure that there is no single 
interest that the War Department is more interested in fostering 
than this Institution, because we are sending out young men trained 
under the West Point system, having had four years of rigid military 
life, who are abundantly able by experience and instruction to take 
charge of volunteers if volunteers are called into the service. 

I am glad to say that Gen. Wood has expressed not only his 
willingness, but his desire, if called, to appear before this committee 
and tell you of the service the Institution is rendering to the General 

The Virginia Military Institute 477 

Grentlemenj here is a body of men, representative men from our 
common country, happily now united. This claim is based simply 
upon the destruction of the property of that Institution as an edu- 
cational institution. You will not misunderstand me when I say 
that whilst it is true that those of the alumni of that Institution, if 
called to serve their common country now, would flock to the colors 
as a man, I want to emphasize the fact, with all the feeling that is 
in me, with all the pride of traditions connected with that Institu- 
tion and as a representative of the alumni, that we have no apologies 
to make, sir, for anjrthing that was done by that Institution during 
the Civil War. 

The Chairman. I want to ask you one or two questions about 
the amount carried in the bill. There is an item here of $82,392.78 
for interest. It is not customary to pay any interest on these claims. 
The interest is based, I should say, on 6 per cent on $137,000. I 
presume that amount represents the value of the buUdings at the 
time of their destruction. Will you indicate to the committee how 
the amount of a hundred and twenty-eight thousand and odd dollars, 
which is claimed to be the amount charged to the building account 
on the treasurer's books from June, 1866, to June, 1873, is ar- 
rived at? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir. Unfortunately, in the destruction of 
the property the archives were also destroyed in 1864. In the 
burning of the buildings aU the old books were destroyed, and the 
only way we could get at that was from a report by Col. Walter H. 
Taylor, who was a member of our Board of Visitors. He was Chief 
of Staff, you will recall, to Gen. Lee — one of the high-minded men 
of the State. There was also Col. Beall. That committee was the 
finance committee of our Board of Visitors. They made a report in 
1872, giving the cost of reconstruction. We had no means of get- 
ting at the actual cost, because the property had accumulated there 
for 25 years. I put all the facts that we had in this report of Col. 
Taylor in the hands of the old treasurer of the Institute, who came 
there as treasurer in 1872 — Maj. Thomas M. Wade — and asked him 
to make up that report from the books that were available and from 
the reports of the finance committee of the Board of Visitors. That 
report is a report by him, and as to details of it, sir, I am frank to 
say, I am perfectly ignorant. I do not know anything about it, 
except that the old treasurer made up the report. 

The Chairman. One other question. Do you place the cost of 
the buildings that were erected after the destruction of the former 
buildings by Gen. Hunter at the actual cost? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. Are they better buildings than those which 
were destroyed? 

Gen. Nichols. They were built on the same foundations. They 
are all brick buildings with stone trimmings. 

478 The Military History of 

The Chairman. Senator du Pont said that his recollection was 
that all the buildings except the barracks were frame or wooden 
buildings ? 

Gen. Nichols. The Senator is mistaken. There are no frame 
buildings on the ground. 

The Chairman. What were they? 

Gen. Nichols. They were brick buildings with stone trimmings. 

Senator du Pont. I had forgotten that. I thought they were 
probably frame. 

Gen. Nichols. No, sir; no frame buildings. 

The Chairman. Have you ever learned, and if so, can you state 
the number of buildings destroyed.'' 

Gen. Nichols. There were four buildings. 

The Chairman. Were the barracks which were destroyed built 
on the same foundation as the present barracks? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir. 

The Chairman. And covered as much space? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir ; covered as much space as when you 
were a student there. We have added to the buildings since then. 

Senator Norris. Was the material of the old buildings used in 
the construction of the new ? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir; as far as it could be. The cost of 
material in the reconstruction period, after the war, was very high, 
as was everything else. It was difficult to obtain. 

Senator Norris. The brick and the stone, or a great share of it, 
of course, could be used again, and was, I presume. 

Gen. Nichols. All that could be used was used; yes, sir. 

Senator Norris. In estimating the amount, is that taken into 
consideration? Is there any credit given for the material that was 
afterwards used? 

Gen. Nichols. I really could not tell you. Senator. That is a 
report of the finance committee and the Board of Visitors, based 
upon the Superintendent's reports in a general way. In those re- 
ports of the old Superintendent he would have charged up even 
$1.25 for labor for a day and every little item entering into the 
thing. As to whether credit was given for the old material, I can 
not say. 

Mr. Flood. General, is not this a statement of the cost of re- 
construction ? 

Gen. Nichols. Yes, sir. 

Senator Martin. Actual expenditures? 

Gen. Nichols. I suppose that they would be. 

The Chairman. I would like to state in the hearings at this 
point, that if interest be excluded the total amount of the claim 
would be $137,321.31. 

The Virginia Military Institute 479 

Statement of Maj.-Gen. Leonard Wood, Chief of Staff, 
United States Army 

Gen. Wood. I should be very glad to answer any questions I 
can about the Virginia Military Institute, Mr. Chairman. 

I can say that we in the service regard that Institution as being, 
next to West Point, the best military school in the country. We 
consider it to be a very valuable military asset, both in the way of 
training officers for the regular service, and in training men who 
would be available as officers in case of necessity. It is an institu- 
tion which for a considerable number of years has been what we call 
our star institution. I have had occasion to see a good deal of the 
work of its officers, both in this country and in the Philippines and 
Cuba; and while I had personally never seen anything of the 
Institute until a few years ago, I had formed a very high opinion of 
the efficiency of its graduates, and I feel that in the Army we look 
upon the Virginia Military Institute as about the best of our military 
schools, and we are always glad to get hold of its officers. They 
are men that are well disciplined and well instructed, and so far as 
I have seen anything of them they are very high-class men, and they 
speak well for the Institution, and the instruction they receive. 

Senator James. It furnished a good many officers in the War 
with Spain, did it not.? 

Gen. Wood. It furnished a considerable number. Senator. I 
could not tell you offhand how many. But it began to supply officers 
to the country, I think, with the Mexican War; there were 10 or 11, 
and, of course, a good many in the Civil War, some being on the 
Northern side; a considerable number, I think. 

I think the Institute draws its pupils from all over the country. 
It is very democratic, and the expenses are remarkably low, con- 
sidering the type of the school and the high standards maintained. 

In the War with Spain there were a considerable number of 
officers from that Institution. I remember two who came under my 
personal observation. One was a most capable engineer, so capable 
that he was made the chief engineer for important research work 
in the eastern half of Cuba. He displayed really very great 
capacity. He is now captain in the Eleventh Cavalry, I think. The 
other one was young Longstreet. He was down there in the early 
days. He also was a very capable officer. Those two came under 
my personal observation. All of them have been a good lot of men. 

Senator Pittman. Are you familiar with the history of the de- 
struction of these buildings ? 

Gen. Wood. Only in a very general way, sir. I know they were 
destroyed during the war, but I know nothing of the details. 

Senator Pittman. For the purpose of ascertaining something of 
the usages of civilized nations in warfare, I should like to know if it 
is in accordance with such usages to destroy institutions of learning.'' 

480 The Military History of 

Gen. Wood. I should say not. 

Senator Pittman. Even if those institutions be military in char- 
acter, purely? 

Gen. Wood. That, Senator, would be a pretty difficult question 
to answer. 

Senator Norris. I would like to inquire of you. General: Sup- 
pose the Confederate forces had captured West Point, would they 
have been justified in destroying the buildings of the military in- 
stitute there? 

Gen. Wood. No, sir ; I would not say so. 

Senator Norris. That would be contrary- to the recognized 
principle that prevails in civilized warfare, would it not? 

Gen. Wood. I would say it would be rather outside that prin- 
ciple. Of course we come to a rather narrow dividing line, as to 
whether it is a means of successfully carrying on the war through 
the instruction of officers. 

Senator Norris. I presume that is the question, and I think it 
is involved in this case. 

Gen. Wood. Yes, sir; but I should doubt the propriety of the 
destruction of an institution of that sort, because it would involve, 
for instance, the destruction of all our colleges where the military 
art is taught. That would be the next step. All our agricultural 
and mechanical colleges in the country would be subject to de- 
struction, under the same general rules. I think the answer would 
be. No. 

Senator Norris. I should hardly think you would class an agri- 
cultural college with a military institution. 

Gen. Wood. I refer to those colleges where they maintain or- 
ganized regiments of trained men as commissioned officers. Take 
the Ohio State University> for instance. It maintains a regiment of 
from thirteen to fifteen hundred men. The number varies. Those 
men are all being trained so as to be available in time of need. 

Senator Norris. We have right here in the District organiza- 
tions in high schools. They are military organizations, but I do not 
suppose any one would claim that the high schools of the District 
were military institutions of that kind. 

Gen. Wood. No; I think the Virginia Military Institute is not 
a military institution. It is a school of broad general culture and 
engineering skill. 

Mr. Flood. The Virginia Military Institute was an agricultural 
school prior to the Civil War. 

Senator Martin. If you will excuse me just for an interruption 
there. I do not suppose that there is one-fiftieth of the time of the 
school devoted to military training at the Virginia Military Institute. 
The time is almost all devoted to literary and scientific work, and 
the time actually given to the art of war is very small as compared 
with the whole time. 

The Virginia Military Institute 481 

Gen. Nichols. It is not designed to prepare men for the pro- 
fession of arms. That was never its object. It was designed as an 
educational institution. It has this military feature attached to it, 
and the system is patterned after the system at West Point. It 
was founded by West Point men, and the military feature is an 
element of education. Under that system men learn to do life's 
duty properly, thoroughly, and eflSciently. They learn to obey, and 
hence they learn to command. Then, take the democratic feature of 
the life; they are all dressed in the same uniform and rub elbows 
with each other. The men take their places in the world in ad- 
vantageous circumstances. All those are educational features. 
True, as this record shows, the Institution does prepare men for 
the profession of arms ; but that is an incident. 

Senator Nohhis. I am very interested in knowing what the facts 
were at the time of its destruction. I do not care particularly what 
it does now; but at that time, for instance, was every student who 
was admitted there trained in military affairs? Was that one of 
the necessary things ? 

Gen. Nichols. It was. 

Senator Johnson. I am asked to vote for damages for this 
Institution because of the destruction of its property — ^the property 
of an educational institution. Attention is called to its library and 
its scientific apparatus. Of course, I would like to know what work 
this Institution was doing during the Civil War and at this particu- 
lar time. Its character may have been different before or since the 

Senator Martin. If you will excuse me for interrupting — I was 
there at that time. It was doing educational work then just as it is 
now, except I have no doubt it has progressed, just as all institu- 
tions of learning have made advances and progress. But the Vir- 
ginia Military Institute at that time was doing work on exactly the 
same line that it is doing work now. I mean, during the war, at 
the very time of its destruction, the educational features were main- 
tained and pursued with the same regularity and diligence as before 
and at the present time. 

Senator Johnson. But the young men were called out to repel 
invasions, and they took part in one or two battles as a force from 
that Institution. 

Senator Martin. There is a military feature, and a very valu- 
able one, that has been shown here. 

Senator Johnson. I mean at that particular time. 

Senator Martin. And it is exactly the same now. 

Senator Johnson. They were called out and formed part of the 
Confederate forces, and took part in the war 

Senator Martin. And they are ready to respond right now. 
They have had a training that fits them for that duty. 


482 The Military History of 

Senator Johnson. I understand that, but I am only getting at 
what the real facts were at the time when they were classed as 

Senator Pittman. That Institution was not conducted during 
that period, or at any time, with the one particular object in view of 
supplying the Confederate Army with soldiers. 

Senator Martin. Its organization did not change at all during 
the Civil War. It was no more a military school during the Civil 
War than it was 10 years before the war. 

Senator Bradley. Was there any more time devoted to military 
training during that period than was devoted to it before the war 
or has been since the war? 

Senator Martin. Not one bit; in my judgment. 

The Chairman. It was just the same? 

Senator Martin. Just the same. 

Mr. Flood. The University of Virginia equipped a company at 
the same time. 

Senator Martin. Yes ; but they had not the training that this 
Institution had. 

Senator Norris. I think there is a distinction between a college 
with the military feature attached as the principal thing and one in 
which it is only incidental. 

Senator Martin. For the information of the Senator and of the 
committee, as a cadet there during the war, at the very time it was 
destroyed I was in sight of it, and I can say that at that time the 
military feature was no more conspicuous than it had been before 
the war, and no more conspicuous than it has been since the war 
ended. It was going along with its regular systematic training of 
young men as it has been doing since the war, and it was not changed 
during the war. 

The Chairman. I think it would be valuable to have Gen. Wood 
put into the record at this point the requirements of land-grant 

Is it not a fact. General, that in every land-grant college, under 
the act of 1862, military instruction is required? 

Gen. Wood. That is my understanding, sir ; that it is required. 
There is no specified amount. 

The Chairman. I think you will find that at least three hours of 
drill per week are required. That is the minimum requirement. 
Some have more. 

Gen. Wood. We are now looking into that, Senator. It was 
recommended that the War Department take up the supervision 
and regulation of those courses, and the argument was advanced 
that the colleges were established in order to prevent the condition 
which was found to exist at the beginning of the Civil War; that 
one of the main objects was that there might be officers prepared to 
command volunteers in case of any trouble. 

The Vikginia Militaky Institute 483 

The Chairman. There is a commandant at each land-grant col- 
lege, is there not? 

Gen. Wood. Yes, sir; which has a military feature varying 
from the minimum which you mention to a maximum. 

There is one thing I might say, with your permission, sir, about 
the Virginia Military Institute. I spoke of it as a school which was 
devoted largely to engineering and civil sciences of various descrip- 
tions. It is also my recollection that the boys who receive the 
benefit of training at the Virginia Military Institute through State 
appointments are required to teach in the schools of Virginia for a 
number of years afterwards to compensate the State for the money 
expended on their education. I think that its formation as an or- 
ganization is not dissimilar to Norwich University, in New England, 
which sent some seven hundred of its graduates into the war as 
officers and non-commissioned officers. There we have a distinct 
military organization, and yet it is in every essential a college or 
educational institution training men for civil life. 

Senator Pittman. General, just one other question. You have 
heard the statement of the facts by Senator Martin with regard to 
the condition of the Virginia Military Institute at the time of its 
destruction and the character of its work. Are you willing to give 
it as your opinion that the destruction, under such circumstances, 
was unnecessary and not in accordance with the general usages of 
civilized nations in war ? 

Gen. Wood. I should say that it was not in accordance with the 
usage of civilized nations in war. I should regard it very much as 
I should regard the destruction of Norwich University if the 
Confederates had gotten up into that part of the country and 
destroyed it. 

Senator Norris. Have you examined the records.^ I should 
think there ought to be a report from Gen. Hunter and the other 
men who destroyed the buildings. 

Gen. Wood. I have not. I came up this morning to testify as 
to the general character of the institution and its standing in the 

Senator Norris. It seems to me that it would be a good thing 
to have the official report of the destruction. Senator du Pont stated 
that it was done under protest. I think that ought to be in the 
records of the War Department. 

Gen. Wood. If the committee would like to have them, I will 
make a search. 

Senator Martin. I should hardly suppose you could find such 
a record. I suppose it would be a breach of discipline for a sub- 
ordinate to protest under such circumstances. 

Senator Norris. I understood the Senator to say that he carried 
out the instructions under protest. 

484 The Military History of 

Senator Martin. Verbally, to his superior officer — that he did 
not think it ought to be done. But I should hardly think it was 
consistent with military discipline for a subordinate to file a written 
protest against his superior officer. 

Gen. Nichols. Probably Se